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The Marijuana Laws of Texas

Criminal Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

The Marijuana Laws of Texas

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Marijuana Laws in Texas

Marijuana has certainly been getting a lot of coverage in the news recently. Several states, including Colorado and Washington, have completely legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal use. Some other states, like California, have decriminalized the drug for use with a doctor’s prescription. With all these major changes, some people are hopeful that Texas will soon join these states in legalizing marijuana.

That may be a possibility in the distant future but, for now, marijuana is and will remain very much illegal in the state of Texas. Possession of even a small amount of pot can land a person in jail with a drug possession conviction. Also, no politician has tried to get weed legalized in the Texas since 2008.

However, that’s not to say that marijuana laws are the same as they were in the past. Texas, like many states, recognizes that marijuana is distinct from some other types of drugs. In fact, marijuana is in its own classification in the Texas legal system.

Texas Marijuana Crimes

Some people may view marijuana as a harmless pastime or a medicinal aid. The state of Texas does not share this viewpoint. Getting caught with pot in Texas can lead to charges of:

Possession of marijuana of any kind or in any amount is illegal everywhere in Texas. Having a medical marijuana card from California does not make pot possession Texas legal and taking a road trip to Colorado to buy pot and bring it back to Texas can lead to charges of drug trafficking.

Legal Penalties

Getting caught by the police with 2 ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor. This means any amount of 2 ounces or less, from a single joint to 1.99999 ounces. This crime is punishable by:

  • Up to 180 days in county jail
  • A fine of up to $2000

Because marijuana offenses are so common in Texas and this drug is viewed as less harmful than cocaine or methamphetamine, most judges will give first-time misdemeanor marijuana offenders a sentence of probation and mandatory drug treatment. Repeat offenders, however, can face much more serious penalties.

Getting caught with more than four ounces but less than five pounds of pot is a state jail felony. This can lead to:

  • 180 days or up to two years in Texas state jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Mandatory drug offender treatment

Selling marijuana is a much more serious offense than simple possession. There is no set amount of pot that automatically proves intent to distribute on the part of the defendant but getting caught with large amounts of marijuana, scales and cash can lead to distribution charges.

Sale or delivery of seven grams or up to five pounds of marijuana is a state jail felony, punishable by:

  • 180 days or up to two years in state jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Police can conduct searches for marijuana as long as they have a reasonable suspicion that a person is in possession of the drug. For example, if a person is seen entering a house where drug dealers are known to live and then leaves less than two minutes later, they may be stopped and searched. If a police officer is walking past a residence and sees marijuana paraphernalia lying on a table or detects the scent of pot, they may knock on the door and ask to search the premises.

Legal Defenses

It’s nearly impossible to argue in court that a person was unwillingly in possession of marijuana. Instead, many defense attorneys may try to negotiate with the court for a reduced sentence. This may include asking the court for drug court disposition so that the defendant can avoid jail time and have their record sealed upon completion of their sentence.

They may also introduce evidence to argue that the defendant was only in possession of marijuana and had no intent to distribute. This could lead to a much lighter sentence than a conviction for selling marijuana.

If you are currently fighting charges related to marijuana, you need a tough, smart lawyer. Greg Tsioros is a Houston-based lawyer who gets results and can protect your rights. Contact his office today at (832) 752-5972.

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