A man charged with illegal cannabis possession needed to use the drug to treat symptoms of his HIV infection, a jury of a Texas court has found. Jurors deliberated less than 15 minutes before reaching a not guilty verdict for Tim Stevens, 53.
His attorney used the defense that cannabis use was a necessity to treat nausea and vomiting of his client. It is believed that this is the first successful use of the necessity defense in a Texas cannabis case. Texas does not belong to the twelve states of the USA that have legalized the medical use of cannabis.
Stevens, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, suffers from nausea and cyclical vomiting syndrome, a condition so severe that it has required hospitalization in the past. He was arrested in October sitting on a front porch of a house smoking cannabis.
Among the witnesses for the defense was Dr. Steve Jenison, medical director of the Infectious Diseases Bureau for New Mexico's health department. He testified that Stevens needed to use the cannabis to ease his symptoms.