Are you ready to roll through some Houston marijuana laws? Because it’s that time of the year again. Grab your bongs, bowls and greenery—it’s almost 4/20! A lot has happened in Harris County in the last year or so in regards to marijuana laws in Harris County and public perception.

When you toss in the recent spikes of synthetic weed in Houston, it’s easy to see there’s a lot going on. You may have a few questions before celebrating, such as, “Is getting caught with weed still a thing?” We’ll cover the latest weed developments and more.

Recently, Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo publicly stated his approval of lightening Houston marijuana laws for non-violent drug offenses. It’s also been about a year since Houston rolled out the Harris County Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program. This program is aimed at reducing the seriousness of a marijuana offense for those arrested with up to 4 ounces of weed.

Before we get into the finer points of the marijuana laws in Harris County, let’s talk about our fail-safe tip for celebrating 4/20 without incident.

Celebrate Marijuana in a Private Space

Celebrating 4/20 in a private space is probably the best and easiest way to stay clear of Houston marijuana laws. Smoking in private (i.e., you or your friend’s home) puts you in a position where you have the most rights to protect you while keeping the police at a comfortable distance away.

We recommend planning ahead by bringing munchies—trust us, you’ll be happy you did—and give yourself considerable time to sober up before leaving. Yes, marijuana charges in Texas do apply to you while driving. As long as you celebrate within reason and don’t do anything stupid like making loud noises or anything, there’s almost no way you can get in trouble while smoking in a private residence.

Harris County has been on a new course to decriminalize marijuana. So, if you’re looking for the safest way to toke up on smoke day, plan ahead, celebrate with good company, and stay inside to avoid any contact with the police.

What are the new Houston Marijuana Laws?

Now, sometimes things happen and there’s no avoiding it. With all the changes, you may be wondering, “What is the charge for smoking weed?” So what happens if you do get caught with some weed in Harris County? The answer may surprise you.

As of March 2017, Houston marijuana laws say that individuals caught with up to 4 ounces of weed in Harris County will not be arrested. This came after Police Chief Acevedo announced that the police will instead focus that attention on violent drug crimes, and, “on the people that are the big movers and shakers that are poisoning young people.”

To be as clear as possible, this new approach to marijuana arrests only pertains to those incidences that take place in Harris County. Other counties, such as Montgomery County, have made it clear that they will still prosecute and go after all drug users—even the average Joes like you and me who are no harm to public.

Talk about a buzz kill.

But for those of us who do most of our smoking within the bounds of Harris County, this is a step in the right direction, so keep your stock under 4 ounces and don’t be an idiot!

Harris County Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program

Since March of last year, if the police pin you with marijuana possession (up to 4 ounces) in Harris County, you will most likely be fined and asked to participate in the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program.

This program is a four-hour educational course that tries to bring perspective to your stance on smoking marijuana, and hopefully shy you away from using it in the future. As long as you pay the fine and complete this four-hour course, your record will remain clean and you can go on living your normal life.

However, you should still take all Houston marijuana laws seriously. It’s important to note that a handful of smaller cities around the Bay Area have not followed the marijuana laws in Harris County. For example, Seabrook, Friendswood and Lakeview (among others) have not adopted this diversion program, according to a recent Houston Chronicle article.

To 4/20 and Beyond!

With this bit of advice and direction on Houston marijuana laws, you should be able to enjoy your 4/20 high as a kite and stay out of jail. But above all, be safe and be smart—that’s our wish for everyone. However, if you find legal trouble from marijuana in the Houston area, make sure you’ve got an aggressive Houston drug attorney on your side.

We’re available for you 24/7, call us at 713-864-9000 or request a free consultation. Be safe, use your head and enjoy!

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.