What’s the deal with possession of marijuana charges in Texas? If you’ve been following along at all, then you at least know that things have changed recently. But… do any of these changes mean you can finally — and legally — smoke marijuana in public?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is still no.

However, Texas marijuana laws are getting less restrictive and low-level possession of marijuana charges may soon be decriminalized to some extent — all good news. Let’s cover some of the most important facts you should know about Texas marijuana laws.

Already facing possession of marijuana charges? Learn more about how to get a possession charge dismissed with the help of an experienced marijuana lawyer in Texas

1. The current possession of marijuana charges are steep

Just because restrictions might be loosening up more in the coming months and years, it doesn’t mean marijuana charges are to be taken lightly now. In fact, you still need to use extreme caution if you do decide to smoke weed or distribute weed in Texas.

Below are the current penalties you could face if you’re charged with possession or possession with intent to distribute. If you are charged with possession, your penalties will be determined by the amount of pounds or ounces of marijuana the police find. 

Possession of marijuana charges:

2 ounces or less

  • Class B misdemeanor
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to $2,000 fine

2-4 ounces

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 fine

4 ounces – 5 pounds

  • State felony
  • Up to 2 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

5-50 pounds

  • 3rd degree felony
  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

50-2,000 pounds

  • 2nd degree felony
  • Up to 20 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

Possession with intent to sell charges:

Up to one-fourth of an ounce

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Up to $4,000 fine

Up to 5 pounds

  • State felony
  • Up to 2 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

Up to 50 pounds

  • 2nd degree felony
  • Up to 20 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

Up to 2,000 pounds

  • 1st degree felony
  • Up to 99 years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

More than 2,000 pounds

  • Mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison
  • Up to $100,000 fine

2. Medical marijuana use is expanding

Initially, medical marijuana use was extremely limited in Texas. But as of late, medical marijuana usage has expanded to include conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease — as long as you’re using cannabis oil with less than 0.5% THC.

Even more recently, however, HB 1535 was passed in the House and sent to the Senate. This medical cannabis legislation would do a few things:

  • Include more medical conditions, such as cancer and PTSD
  • Raise the level of THC allowed to 5%
  • Create review boards designed to review programs and research medical cannabis

3. Marijuana use is in the process of being decriminalized (to some extent) 

Texas has always had a pretty strict stance on any type of drug use — marijuana included. But it looks like things are taking a turn for the better. The House recently approved HB 441. This bill would “decriminalize” marijuana possession to some extent. This means:

  • If you’re caught with a small amount of weed (up to one ounce of cannabis), then you would not be subject to jail time. Instead, you would be given the option to plead guilty and pay a $500 fine. 
  • With a guilty plea, your case would be deferred for one year, and you could end up with a clean criminal record at the end of the process.

If you live within Harris County limits and are worried about Houston marijuana laws specifically, then you can relax even more. Back in 2017, the county released a statement saying they would not arrest people who are caught with up to 4 ounces of marijuana. 

Keep in mind, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t be arrested — it simply means you likely won’t be arrested. Instead, you’ll be fined and subject to educational programs.

4. Marijuana charges are winnable

There are a variety of tactics you can leverage to fight back against possession of marijuana charges. However, if you expect to win, it’s important that you partner with a marijuana lawyer in Texas that understands the nuances associated with this type of charge. 

For example, you can only be charged with the “usable amount.” In other words, stems, seeds, and other debris cannot be included in the total weight (and total weight can have a drastic impact on what penalties you ultimately face). This seems minor, but it’s often overlooked by inexperienced lawyers.

Find a lawyer who understands possession charges inside and out and has in-depth experience with:

  • Unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Possession of a dangerous drug in Texas (not just marijuana)
  • The benefits of expungement vs. deferred adjudication 
  • Traffic stop rights
  • First-time offenses vs. 2nd-, 3rd-, or 4th-time offenses

Facing possession of marijuana charges in Texas? 

Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm is triple-board certified and an 8-time Texas Super Lawyer. He has the experience and skill you need to fight back against — and overcome — possession of marijuana charges in Texas. 

With thousands of dismissals and over a hundred Not Guilty verdicts under his belt, he can guide you to make the best decisions for your future and help you avoid jail time, fines, and other penalties in the process. 

To discover if Thiessen Law Firm is the right fit for you, give us a call at 713-864-9000 or request a consultation online.

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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.