You have probably seen on the news that marijuana laws are changing all over the country. In several states such as Colorado, California, and Nevada, the once illegal drug is now being decriminalized. However, in Texas it is still illegal. While many residents of the Lone Star state travel to other states to buy marijuana legally, it is stillillegal to bring marijuana, in any form, including edibles, back into the state.
Possession of Marijuana
Under Texas law,possession of marijuana may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony based on how much of the drug an individual is caught with in his or her possession.
Possession of two ounces or less is a misdemeanor and may be punished with 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
Possession of two to four ounces is also a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000.
Possession of four ounces up to five pounds is a felony crime and is punishable with a jail sentence between 180 days and two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.
Possession of five to 50 pounds is also a felony crime and is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
In Texas, if you give away seven grams or less of marijuana, you can still be deemed guilty of selling the drug. This is a punishable misdemeanor that could result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
Will Laws Regarding Marijuana Soon Change in Texas?
So, what will happen to Texas’ marijuana laws if the laws regarding the drug are changing in other places? Two bills are being prioritized in the state in 2019. One of the bills legalizes medical marijuana and one decriminalizes possession of marijuana in small amounts for personal use only.
The decriminalization bill is being sponsored by Democratic Representative Joe Moody for the third time. In 2016, over 66,000 residents of Texas were arrested for possession of marijuana according to records from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Moody says he hopes that number will be reduced by changing the criminal penalty for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana with a fine.
Moody has called the bill fiscally responsible and says it is smart to not saddle young people with a criminal history that could keep them out of the workforce. Historically, however, Texas lawmakers continue to oppose decriminalization of marijuana even though a large number of voters in the state believe it should be entirely legalized.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has labeled some of the legislation surrounding decriminalization of marijuana dead. If the bill would pass, it would lower marijuana possession of one ounce or less to a Class C misdemeanor crime, the same classification as a traffic ticket.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing charges of marijuana possession, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact the attorneys atAbel Law Firm today to ensure your rights are protected.
(image courtesy of Chase Fade)