Attorneys Move for Statewide Felony Dismissals After Loophole in Drug Law

At first, legislators were trying to legalize drugs for prescription holders, instead they legalized the drugs for everyone.

By Alexandra HartSeptember 22, 2016 11:57 am

He was a Katy teenager balancing classes at a community college and working at a sandwich shop. But this all came to an end when he was arrested for illegal possession of prescription Adderall.

He took a plea deal for the felony offense, agreeing to spend two years in jail. He lost his job and was kicked out of school.

Brian Rogers, legal affairs reporter for the Houston Chronicle, says he shouldn’t have been charged with a felony in the first place – and neither should anyone else.

“Legislators were trying to make Adderall not illegal for prescription holders,” says Rogers. “In doing so, they made it not illegal for everyone.”

Rogers says the loophole in the law that is undermining these Adderall arrests started with synthetic marijuana or Kush.

“People making or selling Kush were getting around the law because there are so many different chemical compounds you can use,” Rogers says.

In response, legislators teamed up with forensic chemists in 2014 to write a complicated law with many different drugs and drug combinations.

“At the end of it, they realized they that might have inadvertently illegalized prescription medications that people normally use,” Rogers says.

So legislators wrote in an exception for drugs approved by the FDA, giving these drugs exemption from the law. But in this approach to patch up unintentionally banning all prescription drugs, Rogers says they changed the intent of the law.

If you are holding prescription drugs without a prescription, it moves from a felony to a class B misdemeanor, says Rogers. Any felony case for possession of Adderall after September 2015 is invalid.

Prosecutors across the state are now looking at these felony cases for Adderall and reversing the convictions. Legislators say they will go back next session and make Adderall a felony again, Rogers says.

Until then, the felony cases are being dismissed.

Post by John Flynn.