The law surrounding marijuana possession and use is rapidly changing. Medical marijuana is legal in 37 states. Recreational marijuana use has been legalized in 21 states and has been decriminalized in another 10. However, that is not the case in Texas. In fact, Texas currently has some of the strictest marijuana penalties in the country. Penalties for marijuana possession and use can vary from a fine to jail time depending on the nature of the offense and the amount of marijuana involved. The sale and/or distribution of marijuana can carry incredibly harsh penalties. Under certain circumstances, a person convicted of marijuana sale or distribution can face a sentence of up to life in prison.
Medical Marijuana Law in Texas
Medical marijuana is legal in Texas under exceptionally limited circumstances when compared to other states. Marijuana for medical use is only legal under Texas’ compassionate use laws for patients with certain conditions, and patients who meet the limited criteria are only allowed to be prescribed marijuana with a very small percentage of THC (1% or less). Doctors can write prescriptions for medical marijuana to permanent residents of Texas if they comply with the registration requirements and determine that the benefits of low-THC cannabis outweigh the risk it poses. The qualifying conditions to be prescribed low-THC cannabis include:
- Epilepsy or similar seizure disorders.
- Multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- An incurable neurodegenerative disease.
Non-Medical Marijuana Possession in Texas
The recreational use of cannabis is neither legalized nor decriminalized in the state of Texas. Under Texas law, it is a crime to knowingly or intentionally grow or possess a “usable quantity” of marijuana. That is generally understood to mean enough marijuana to make a cigarette. Penalties for marijuana possession increase when the offense is committed in a “drug-free zone” such as a school, playground, or youth center. Generally, the penalties are as follows.
- Two ounces or less: up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
- Two to four ounces: up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
- Four ounces to five pounds: 180 days to two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Five to 50 pounds: two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- 50 to 2,000 pounds: two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- More than 2,000 pounds: five years to life in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
Additionally, making, selling, or possessing drug paraphernalia in Texas is also a crime. Paraphernalia is defined as items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. The penalty for paraphernalia possession is a fine of up to $500. Selling paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that has a penalty of up to one year of jail time and a $4,000 fine, but becomes a felony when the paraphernalia is sold to a minor. If paraphernalia is sold to a minor, the penalty is anywhere between 180 days and two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
San Antonio Drug Crime Attorneys
If you or a loved one are facing a drug crime charge, you’re probably feeling scared. With often unreasonably harsh penalties looming, you may be wondering where to turn and what comes next. The Krause Law Firm has experience defending people against drug crime charges from simple possession of marijuana to first degree felonies regarding Group One substances. Our team prides itself on being built by ethical and compassionate experts who fight, first and foremost, for dismissals of charges. We are caring yet relentless advocates who will do whatever it takes to get the best possible outcome for you, your life, and your future. Contact us today for a consultation. As always, it’s both free and confidential.