Around the country, states are debating the legalization of marijuana. Many states, like Colorado and Washington, have full legalization of marijuana. Others are decriminalizing marijuana possession or allowing for the use of medical marijuana. The differences in laws lead to confusion for many people. It’s best to know the laws in your area before you possess or use marijuana.
Is Marijuana Legal in Texas?
No. If you possess marijuana in Houston, Texas, you risk criminal charges. The state government continues to introduce and review new bills regarding the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
However, at this time, no laws have passed to decriminalize or make marijuana possession or recreational use legal. In Texas, drug offenses fall under the Health and Safety Code and carry harsh penalties.
Does Texas Allow Medical Marijuana?
Yes. Texas has a program known as the Compassionate Use Program. However, only a small number of people in Texas have permission to use medical marijuana. The law includes strict and confusing requirements that make it difficult to receive permission to use medical marijuana.
You must have registered permission from the state to use marijuana for medical reasons. Otherwise, you can face criminal charges if caught in possession of marijuana.
What is Possession of Marijuana?
Texas law defines marijuana possession as, “knowing or intentional possession of a usable quantity of marijuana”. Even a small amount of the drug can lead to criminal charges. Texas also identifies Drug-Free School Zones.
The defined zones include more than schools. They also include school buses, playgrounds, youth centers, and other facilities affiliated with education. If you are charged with a marijuana offense in one of these areas, you face even harsher penalties.
The law states that a school zone extends to 1,000 feet around the defined zone. It’s important to know your location if you are in possession. For example, if you live near a school zone, you risk more extreme consequences if arrested for possession at your home.
What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Houston?
Like with other drug charges, the penalties depend on the amount of the substance in your possession. Also, your criminal drug history can impact the level of the charge. Multiple possession charges lead to harsher penalties.
Possession of two ounces or less is a misdemeanor charge with a penalty of fewer than 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Even this low-level offense can greatly impact your life and your future.
The range of charges shifts quickly. While two ounces is a misdemeanor, four ounces becomes a felony charge with up to two years in state prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Even a small difference in the amount of marijuana in possession can have a major impact.
Once you exceed 2,000 pounds of marijuana, the penalties change to a first-degree felony with a risk of up to 99 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine. Marijuana charges are serious in Texas.
Do I Need A Defense Attorney for Marijuana Possession Charges?
Most people facing marijuana possession charges are due to a smaller amount and face lower-level charges. Yet, even misdemeanor possession charges require a strong defense. You do not have to face the criminal justice system alone. You have the right to a defense attorney to protect your freedom and future.
At Mary Conn Law, we understand the drug laws in Houston, Texas. We have extensive experience representing clients facing drug charges. If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana, contact us quickly to start building your defense.
Contact us today to request a consultation.