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Marijuana Laws in Texas


Attorneys Justinian Lane, Dustin Fox, and Diego Rodriguez discuss new marijuana laws across the United States and how they affect Texans.

Justinian Lane: And Dustin has something to talk about that can be kind of interesting. What happens if one State’s Laws conflict with another State’s Laws? In this case, I think Colorado and Texas. What do we have...

Dustin Fox: Yeah, I mean, this is going to be something that could be really prevalent and news going forward as you guys will imagine. Here in Texas, there was a school teacher, in 2015 she tested positive for marijuana use. And the State Board for the Educator Certification sought to suspend her. Basically, what happens, she went to Colorado over Christmas break and she apparently had like a pot brownie, came back and later tested positive.

So, what happened here is the judge actually agreed with her and saying that, “You know what, Colorado’s laws are different in Texas.” She went there and did something that was perfectly legal, came back here and– I mean, she may have had it in her system but when she was there, she did some perfectly legal although it was illegal here. And what was the analogy that they used in that case?

Justinian Lane: The analogy was that like, “Gambling is illegal in Texas but you can’t be punished if you go to Las Vegas and gamble for a whole weekend. You can do whatever you want if it’s legal in that state.” So, they could say it’s an interesting analogy.

Dustin Fox: Yeah. I mean, this is something that you’re going to see a lot of going forward because I believe there are 20 or 25 different states where at least marijuana has been delo– not del–

Justinian Lane: Decriminalized.

Diego Rodriguez: Decriminalized.

Dustin Fox: Decriminalized– that illegal that’s– yeah, that’s correct.

Justinian Lane: Right. It– it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out and what kind of policies will come into play with– with one state will allow and what the other state won’t allow? In this case, the proceeding was before an administrative law judge, if I recall?

Dustin Fox: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s correct. So, they can go back to the District Court of Appeal.

Justinian Lane: We had a lot of– lot of agencies have what’s called an Administrative Court and it’ll have an Administrative Law Judge that tell a lot of agencies “Get decisions made.” And then if they disagree with that decision, then it goes to an actual court. In this case, a District Court. And then that’s how actual law would get made. I’m curious if this is going t get– get pursued. If so, I would imagine there’ll be a lot of briefs from organizations that have pretty strong opinions on first of all, whether or not a student or teacher should be punished for using marijuana period. And, second of all, then if organizations have the authority to punish individuals for activities that they commit that are legal where they commit them.

Dustin Fox: I mean– And so now, do you [0:02:16.8] [Indicernible] what this case brought to light also was, you know, the State Board for like licensing agencies, actually have a lot of power. There is this one where the– they actually revoked the license for a teacher who had a– in a relationship with the student, he was a high school student but happened to be 18 years old, attended a different School District in a different school. And, who, in the– at a non-related school function and they upheld the Third– Third Court of Appeals found that they had– within the right to revoke her license.

Justinian Lane: Yeah and regardless of how you feel about that, it still shows that this would be otherwise being perfectly legal. You have two people who are consenting adults, they’ll work together, no position of power or coercion and they’re not able to have a relationship with each other. That shows the power that the licensing board would have and you– from time to time, they can overstep their bounds. If not– if you don’t think it was maybe in this case, certainly in other cases, agencies will assert their authority. And it’s kind of a– it’s much more wide-range and the people would think that it’s not just the court system, we have all these agencies with their administrative courts and it get– takes time and money to fight those battles as well.

Dustin Fox: Yeah. I mean, it’s a slippery slope too where do you draw the line what the cannon cannot do?

Diego Rodriguez: Yeah.

Justinian Lane: Right and there’s– of course, also rules with– with driving lawyer while under the influence of marijuana or any other drug which is– so do we very strongly discourage. I mean we don’t have any moral judgments. If– if you’re somebody who wants to go use marijuana, we’re not going to say you’re a bad person or a good person. that’s– that’s your decision.

Diego Rodriguez: Yeah.

Justinian Lane: If you get into trouble doing so, we can help with that. And, we’re certainly going to keep an eye on the developments. I know this is a big push for a medical marijuana to become a thing here in Texas and there will be rules surrounding that. If and when that happens, we’ll– we would be available to consult on if you run with any problems with that. And the same with people, you know– most people, I think will understand if they come from a state where marijuana is legal or they have a medical marijuana card in another state. They understand that you can’t bring it into Texas. And that’s just again the interplay of– Texas says this is legal across the border in another state, it’s illegal and vice versa. You have to respect the law enforcement authorities in the state that you are in.

So, if got any questions about what the– what the policies are regarding drugs inTexas, I tell you, call us for a free consultation. But we can tell you if it’s a drug, it’s not legal here. So just don’t bring it in Texas.

[Laughter]

Justinian Lane: If you live in California or Washington or one of the other states that that’s OK with marijuana, have it over there, do not bring it over here. We really don’t want to have to help you on that kind of a matter. We can if you do get, you know, arrested for some sort of a possession charge. We help people out with that fairly regularly, I think.

Diego Rodriguez: Yeah, of course, we do. If you find yourself in a situation where maybe you have something that you shouldn’t and you encounter a police officer and you know, you also have to look to see– you know what, yeah, it did occur. There was something that was in my pocket or wherever maybe. But was a stop legal? Was there a reasonable suspicion? You know, was there a reason him to be able to search you? Is there a reason for that to be able to become discoverable. That’s why you start looking at things of– as a criminal attorney, we start looking at the situation of, is– was it, you know, the constitution will be able to stop that, that they’re violating laws. Is there anything that we can work out?

Dustin Fox: We do a whole video on the Fourth Amendment.

Diego Rodriguez: Yeah.

Justinian Lane: And we may do that. We got a lot of questions about it. And, Diego was talking about, you know, was the stop legal? Do the police officer have a problem will cause to stop you. and that matters because let’s just say that the police officer decides, “You know what, I don’t like people who drive red cars” that guy has a red car so I’m going to search him. Whatever he finds in that search, a judge should say it’s not admissible. So if he finds a joint, a pound of marijuana, three dead bodies, whatever it is, that should not be admissible. And it’s an old legal doctrine that they call “The fruit of the poisonous tree” that they want to reward police officers for bad conduct, for breaking the law.

This is one of the things if you– if you talk to experienced attorneys, you can come to us. We will look through every aspect of the case to see if every element, every part of your stop and your arrest was permissible. And if it wasn’t, sometimes, then the entire thing will go away.

Diego Rodriguez: Yeah.

Justinian Lane: Because even to use the example that I had if the– you being pulled over wasn’t a permissible stop and it doesn’t matter if he found drugs in the car. The court would rule you can’t introduce those drugs as evidence which means there are no more charges.

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