Get Updated on the Updated Recreational Marijuana Laws in Texas
When we take a look at the laws about legalization of cannabis in Texas, the Lone Star State has been slower to act than many other states. In Texas and federal law, recreational use of cannabis is still illegal. Recreational cannabis (or marijuana) use is classified as the use of marijuana for enjoyment instead of medicinal applications. The laws on recreational marijuana use vary from state to state, but in Texas, the laws about recreational possession include the following ordinances:
- Possession of two ounces or less of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $2000
- Possession of between two and four ounces of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year and a fine not to exceed $4000
- Possession of between 4 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days imprisonment, a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000
- Possession of between 5 and 50 pounds of marijuana is a felony, publishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 2 years imprisonment, a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000
- Possession of between 50 pounds and 2000 lbs of marijuana is a Second Degree felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment, a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000
- Possession of more than 2000 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, a maximum sentence of 99 years, and a fine of no more than $50,000
What the Newly Expanded Medical Marijuana Program in Texas Means for You
Generally speaking, the laws surrounding recreational use of marijuana in Texas, but the laws about medical use are a bit more relaxed. In early June of 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) signed into law a legislation that expanded the state’s restrictive medical marijuana program. Now, the substance is more available to patients and allowed for more THC in regulated medical cannabis products.
The legislation is known as House Bill 1535 and will go into effect in September of 2021. The new law permits the use of low-THC marijuana for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and any form of cancer rather than solely terminal cancer. In addition, the regulation raised the THC cap on regulated marijuana in Texas from .5% to 1%. The cap would have been raised to 5% in the House version of the Bill, but the level was lowered by the Texas Senate. Furthermore, the Bill makes way for a new research program to study the use of low-THC medical marijuana.
As of May 2021, the number of Texans listed in the medical marijuana is not high, and it currently sits at 6,051. The most likely situation is that the expansion will make room for new patients. These patients would be using the substance medically and legally instead of recreationally, but it also decreases the risk of being faced with a criminal law situation. The majority of the people in Texas are unable to use marijuana legally and would require a skilled criminal defense lawyer if they were facing a possession charge.
What Happens if You Are Arrested for a Marijuana Charge in Texas
If you are not legally able to access medical marijuana in Texas and you are caught with a possession charge, you could face a Class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and a fine of up to $2000. Possession of between 2 and 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $4000. Possession of between 4 and 5 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days imprisonment, a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000.
As you can see, the penalties for possession can certainly range, but your best chance of reducing the charge will be to work with a skilled lawyer. Drug possession charges are not the most serious offenses that the court encounters. If you make the effort to hire a criminal defense lawyer like Peter Barrett, you will have a much better chance of achieving a positive outcome. You might also have a better chance of exploring a diversion or rehabilitation program, which will bode better for your case in the long run. Some of the most common defenses for a marijuana drug charge include:
- The drugs were not yours
- You were entrapped in the situation
- Unlawful search and seizure
- The substance was not illegal
We understand that the marijuana laws in Texas can be a bit confusing, and it is important to have a lawyer who is constantly keeping up with the latest laws and knows the bests routes to defend you.