States across the nation may have taken steps to decriminalize marijuana, but the plant remains a controlled substance in the Lone Star State. Marijuana is not classified in any specific penalty group under the Controlled Substance Act, but crimes involving the plant are still heavily penalized.
Depending on where the crime is committed, some offenders will have the drug confiscated and given a citation while others will be sent to jail. Criminal charges for marijuana crimes largely depend on the amount involved, but they can range from a class B misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.
Marijuana Defense Attorney in Texas
As a member of NORML, David Sloane is fighting for marijuana legalization in Texas. Until the plant is legal, he will vigorously defend those accused of marijuana crimes. With over 20 years of experience, Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC knows what it takes to win a case or have it dismissed.
Take the first step in building your defense and contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC. David Sloane will use his experience to your advantage. He will aggressively advocate on your behalf and ensure the facts of your case are heard. Call (817) 810-0088 to schedule a confidential consultation. Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC defends clients in Tarrant County, Dallas County, Dallam County, Sherman County, Moore County and many others in North-Central Texas.
- How is Marijuana Defined in Texas?
- Marijuana Crimes in Texas
- What Are the Marijuana Laws in Texas?
- Delivery of Marijuana Penalties in Texas
- Possible Defenses for Marijuana Crimes
- Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Texas?
- Is Marijuana Gonna Be Legal in Texas?
- Additional Resources
How is Marijuana Defined in Texas?
Most people know what marijuana is. But what they don’t know is how Texas law defines the drug. According to the Texas Controlled Substance Act, marijuana is considered the seeds, compounds, manufacture, salts, derivatives, mixtures or preparations of the cannabis plant.
The marijuana industry has dramatically increased over the last decade. With this growth has come new ways to consume the plant. Methods such as oils, dabs and edibles have become increasingly popular. These methods of consuming marijuana are considered THC concentrates.
Under the Texas Controlled Substance Act, THC concentrates are not considered marijuana. Instead, concentrates are separate from marijuana and classified as a penalty group 2 drug. This means crimes involving THC concentrates will entail harsher penalties than crimes involving marijuana.
Other substance not considered marijuana include:
- The stalks or fibers of the cannabis plant
- Cakes or oils made from the plant’s seeds
- Compounds, derivatives and mixtures of the stalks, fibers, oils or cakes
- Sterilized seeds incapable of being germinated
Marijuana Crimes in Texas
Texas is leading the way for the number of marijuana arrests in the United States. According to a report from the FBI, Texas law enforcement made nearly 65,000 arrests for marijuana crimes in 2016, 98% of which were for simple possession. Most of these people are causing no harm to society, yet their lives will be turned upside down for a crime involving a plant.
Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC has defended hundreds of clients accused of marijuana crimes across Texas. Some of the marijuana crimes we defend include:
- Marijuana possession
- Possession over 4 ounces
- Possession with intent to sell
- Marijuana DWI
- Delivery of marijuana
- Marijuana cultivation
- Marijuana trafficking
- THC Concentrates and edibles
- Felony marijuana offenses
- Federal marijuana offenses
- Positive THC drug test probation violation
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Arrest of out of state visitors
What Are the Marijuana Laws in Texas?
As time passes, the United States as a whole has become more comfortable with the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana crimes. However, the state of Texas hasn’t quite caught up to this progressive legislation just yet. Possessing, delivering, possessing with intent, selling, manufacturing, or creating cannabis is a crime in the state of Texas. One of the most common marijuana related crimes a person can be charged with is possession.
Normally, possession is charged as a misdemeanor in the state of Texas. Possessing less than two ounces of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor and if you possess up to four ounces of cannabis then your charges will be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor.
In certain circumstances, marijuana possession can result in felony charges. Possessing between four ounces and five pounds of marijuana is a state jail felony. Prosecutors will charge you with a third-degree felony if it was found that between five pounds and 50 pounds of marijuana was found on your person. The penalties for these crimes can result in decades of prison you possess more than 50 pounds of marijuana. If the court finds you possessed 50 pounds to 2,000 pounds of marijuana, then you’ll face a second-degree felony.
Possessing more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana will result in a lifelong felony. That means you could face up 99 years or life in prison and face an extraordinary fine of $50,000.
Delivery of Marijuana Charges in Texas
Selling or giving marijuana to another person is known as delivery of marijuana under the Texas Penal Code. In Texas, it’s illegal to deliver marijuana even if the exchange did not result in money or something of value for the defendant. The consequences for delivery depend on whether the defendant did receive money or something of value from the exchange and the amount of marijuana delivered.
Delivering less than ¼ an ounce of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor, which can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If the exchange did result in compensation or something else of value, then the defendant will face a class A misdemeanor. Their penalties will instead be up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Delivering more than ¼ ounce to five pounds of cannabis is a state jail felony, which is punishable by up to 24 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Delivering more than five pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana will result in a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence a person can receive for a second-degree felony include up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The penalties for delivery become even more grave if more than 50 pounds of cannabis were involved. Delivering 50 pounds to 2,000 pounds of marijuana can result in a first-degree felony, which can result in up to life in prison and an extraordinary fine.
Possible Defenses for Marijuana Crimes
Just because you were arrested for a marijuana crime does not mean you will be convicted. There are various defense strategies Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC could use to possibly have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Potential defenses for marijuana crimes could include:
- Illegal search and seizures
- Failure to read Miranda warnings
- Violation of Constitutional rights
- Not a usable quantity of marijuana
Challenging the admissibility of evidence obtained during an arrest is one of the most effective defenses. The evidence police obtain before and after an arrest is crucial for state prosecutors to build a case against you. But, police are required to comply with search and seizure laws when gathering evidence. Failing to do so can result in having the evidence thrown out.
Arguing the validity of a chemical test used in a marijuana DWI is another common method of defense. When you are arrested for a suspected DWI with marijuana, law enforcement will likely conduct a chemical test of your blood or urine. Marijuana can stay in your system weeks after you’ve consumed the drug. This means a chemical test can come back positive even if you weren’t actually driving intoxicated.
It’s imperative you contact a marijuana defense attorney if you have been arrested or charged with a marijuana crime in Texas. No two marijuana cases are alike. Each one will require a personalized defense plan that Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC will craft for you.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Texas?
Medical marijuana was legalized in Texas through the Texas Compassionate Use Act proposed by the Senate Bill 339 in 2015. The Act allows patients to have access to low-THC cannabis in compliance with the Texas Occupations Code § 169.001. Patients who want medical marijuana can only obtain the following:
- No more than .05 percent by eight of THC; and
- No less than 10 percent of weight by CBD.
The Texas Compassionate Act allows qualified and certified physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. However, the requirements for medical marijuana are incredibly restrictive under the current legislation. Currently, only those who have intractable epilepsy has access to medical marijuana. In addition, patients are very limited in how they can consume their medical marijuana prescription. Smoking marijuana “flower” is illegal under medical marijuana laws. Patients can only use CBD and THC oils if they want to consume cannabis.
Often if a person with a medical marijuana card is arrested for possession, they can use the necessity defense. The defense states the defendant’s alleged conduct was justified under the law of necessity if:
- They reasonably believed the conduct is necessary to avoid any imminent harm;
- The urgency to avoid the harm clearly outweighs the ordinary standards of reasonableness, the harm sought to be prevented by the law prescribing the conduct; and
- There is no legislative purpose to exclude this justification in the statute
Essentially, a person can raise the necessity defense for using medical marijuana as they can argue that they used to drug out of necessity because they were in serious pain or suffering. The urgency to avoid the pain and suffering outweighed the harm of using the medicinal marijuana in public or possessing it in public.
Is Marijuana Gonna Be Legal in Texas?
Unfortunately, possessing, manufacturing, creating, possessing with intent, or selling marijuana is a crime in Texas still. However, support for expanded medical laws may be in effect in the year 2021. There has even been cries for legalized recreational marijuana from certain legislators and their constituents. State Representative Roland Gutierrez from San Antonio has proposed a bill to legalize marijuana completely while Texas State Senator Jose Menedez has proposed legislation to add to medical marijuana laws.
It’s unclear whether either of these bills will pass, but hopefully these proposals will be the beginning of decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Texas. Although Governor Greg Abbot has not shown support for recreational marijuana, he does say he will sign any new marijuana bill that may pass next year.
Additional Resources for Marijuana Defense
Texas Controlled Substance Act – Read through the act governing marijuana crimes in Texas. You can read the precise legal definition of crimes like possession and delivery. You can also learn about other drugs grouped with THC concentrates. The act can be read on the Texas Constitution and Statutes website.
DFW NORML Chapter – Visit the official website of the NORML chapter in Dallas Fort Worth. You can gain access to local chapter information, state laws and news regarding marijuana legalization. NORML, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is a non-profit group advocating for the legalization of marijuana in the United States.
Texas Marijuana Defense Lawyer
David Sloane is a well respected and sought after marijuana attorney. With a strong background in criminal investigation and marijuana law, he is well prepared to defend the charges against you. The sooner you contact Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC, the sooner we can get to work building your defense.
Schedule a time to speak with David Sloane more about your case. (817) 810-0088. Some of the areas Law Offices of David Sloane, PLLC serves include Tarrant County, Dallas County, Oldham County, Potter County and Carson County.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.