I Heard Texas Doesn’t Arrest People for Possession of Marijuana Anymore,
Is Marijuana Legal in Texas?
There are a lot of drug crimes in Texas. The only thing Texas has legalized are the parts of the marijuana plant that have medicinal applications. Texas has not, in any way legalized marijuana or THC. The Texas Legislature passed a in 2007 that allowed police to issue a court summons on marijuana possession cases wherein the amount of marijuana possessed was an amount less than four ounces. Less than four ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. Possession of marijuana in an amount more than four ounces is a felony. The summons looks like and acts like a Class C ticket, (think traffic ticket) you are not arrested when the officer finds the marijuana but, you do have to report to court by a certain date to dispose of the criminal charge. The purpose of the law was to clear the low level marijuana offenders out of large metropolitan area jails. Apparently, the Dallas and Harris County jails were over stocked with minor marijuana offenders who could not make bond.
Nothing was done with the law for several years. However, in 2017, Dallas County announced that they would no longer be arresting violators for possessing less than four announces of marijuana. Instead, the Dallas County policy would be to issue court summons as anticipated by law. The media ran with this story announcing the non-arrest policy but, without stressing the court summons aspect. As a result, there has been and, in my experience, there still is a misconception that small amounts of marijuana have been legalized in Texas. As of this writing, no amount of marijuana is legal in Texas.
Marijuana is still illegal in Texas and it is prosecuted according to the amount of marijuana possessed. Marijuana in an amount of less than two ounces (there are 28 grams in an ounce) is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail. Marijuana in an amount of less than four ounces but, more than two ounces is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail. Possession of Marijuana in an amount of more than four ounces but, less than five pounds is a State Jail Felony punishable by up to 2 years in a State Jail Facility. Possession of Marijuana in an amount of more than five pounds but, less than fifty pounds is a Third Degree Felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Possession of Marijuana in an amount of more than fifty pounds but, less than two-thousand pounds is a Third Degree Felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Possession of Marijuana in an amount of more than two-thousand pounds is a First Degree Felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison or life.
Possession of Marijuana in a Drug Free Zone, Delivery of Marijuana and Manufacturing (cultivating) Marijuana increase the level of the marijuana offense by at least one level (sometimes the situation is worse). So that delivery of marijuana in an amount less than four ounces but more than two ounces is a State Jail Felony punishable by up to two years in a State Jail Facility whereas, possession in that amount is a Misdemeanor. Possession of Marijuana in Drug Free Zone (within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, youth centers and school buses or within 300 feet of video arcade facilities and public swimming pools) also increases the penalty one level up. However, the Drug Free Zone enhancement has a serious negative effect on eligibility for parole and mandatory supervision on felony sentences.
Marijuana Possession in any amount IS still being prosecuted in the State of Texas. Punishments can be minor or severe. Do not try to defend yourself. Alone, you are no match for a prosecutor determined to save the world one vice at a time and a law and order Judge trying to win re-election. Contact us at (940) 566-0271 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.