Since Colorado legalized marijuana, laws and attitudes have loosened across the country. A common mantra is that it's a harmless drug and a lesser crime-which, here in the state of Texas, is not the case. Regardless of word on the streets, marijuana is a controlled substance with its own penalty grouping under Texas law. Sentencing for marijuana possession varies widely depending on an offender's record and the amount he or she was carrying, but many first-time offenders can keep their record clean.
A 15-year-old student at a Texas high school was taken into custody on Feb. 25 for distribution of prescription drugs and synthetic LSD. This is the latest development in a case in which several teens have been detained for drug-related charges. In all, four juveniles and two 17-year-olds have been taken into custody. The 17-year-olds are faced with charges of tampering with evidence. The investigation follows an incident in which one student died and two others were hospitalized.
On Dec. 10, it was reported that the 23-year-old boyfriend of a missing Texas woman was charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The authorities stated that the drug charge was not related to the missing woman's case.
Criminal penalties in Texas for drug charges can vary a great deal. Among other things, they depend upon whether the individual has prior convictions, the type of drug and the nature of the offense.
The Texas Controlled Substances Act makes it illegal to possess certain controlled or illicit drugs. There are four different categories of illegal drugs under state law; marijuana is classified separately, constituting a fifth class. Prosecutors have the burden of proof in criminal cases; they are required to prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
A traffic stop performed by an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety led to an apparent drug seizure on Sept. 23. The driver of the vehicle that was pulled over, a 58-year-old Paradise Valley, Arizona, man, was taken into custody. He subsequently appeared in a federal courtroom in Amarillo where he was charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute.
On Sept. 16, police raided the home of two people in Sherman after reportedly being granted a search warrant to look for drugs. The 27-year-old man and 24-year-old woman were reportedly sleeping when the Sherman Special Response Team entered their home and confiscated 1.5 gallons of a suspected drug mixture called Purple Drank. Police also seized five ounces of suspected methamphetamine, $2,200 in cash and alleged drug paraphernalia.
On Aug. 23, a 29-year-old Texas man was taken into custody after 355 pounds of marijuana was allegedly found at his home in Laredo. According to the Webb County Sheriff's Office Organized Crime Unit, an investigation they conducted led them to the man's home. When investigators arrived at the residence, they encountered the accused man and a woman. Reports indicate that one more person might be charged in connection to this drug possession case.
Texas residents may be interested to learn that two California men, ages 27 and 28, were reportedly taken into police custody on July 8 after they were observed sharing a stall in the men's restroom of a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant. According to the report, they were reported by a customer who believed they were getting high in the stall.
Lab work at the Texas Department of Public Safety's 13 labs has suffered a recent slowdown. This surge is caused by a lab tech shortage, as well as recent no-refusal BAC operations, according to a representative for the agency. He also stated that drug test processing times were averaging nine months by the end of 2012.