When the legislature returns one state representative plans to file the same bill he's filed six times before. State Representative Elliott Naishtat is optimistic and says this time "is the charm." He's talking about his bill that would give an affirmative defense for sick people who use marijuana.
He's clear to point out his bill doesn't legalize medical marijuana or decriminalize it.
"It gives people who are genuinely sick a chance if they are arrested to go to the judge and get the charge dismissed," said Naishtat.
Naishtat is working during the interim to gain support for the bill. Last session the public health committee, which he serves as the vice chair, held a hearing. He believes that was a step in the right direction and wants to see the bill move even farther.
Nasihtat believes momentum is growing as people see other states authorize marijuana for medicinal purposes. So far 21 states have legalized medicinal marijuana.
"We basically support anything that reduces the penalties," explained Jamie Spencer who serves as legal counsel for the Texas chapter of NORML. The group is the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
"We advocate for the eventual and complete legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana the same way alcohol and wine is regulated but realistically you have to start with baby steps," said Spencer.
"I don't know if we're ready to go that far yet but the bill I have is very conservative," said Naishtat who hopes some Republicans will sign on to the bill. He says he hears the same argument each session.
"I can't look weak on crime. That's what I hear," said Nasihtat.
Lawmakers return to the Capitol in January.