R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Growing pot in your Texas home could mean serious jail time

While much of the rest of the country is adopting more lenient approaches to marijuana, Texas still has a firm stance on the prohibition of this popular medical and recreational drug. People get arrested every day in Texas for all types of marijuana charges, from possession to distribution. One of the more serious offenses that Texans who use marijuana could face relates to growing marijuana.

Due to more permissive cultural attitudes about marijuana, most people think of it as less of a crime and more of a nuisance. That can lead marijuana users to believe that so long as they avoid creating a nuisance with smell or parties, they can quietly smoke and even grow their own marijuana without major legal repercussions. The truth is that getting caught growing marijuana in Texas can ruin your life. Marijuana cultivation charges in Texas will not result in a simple slap on the wrist in most cases.

Cultivation penalties are the same as possession penalties

At first glance, the treatment of cultivation like possession could seem like the state of Texas has a permissive attitude toward marijuana growers. However, possession charges are only misdemeanors if the weight of the marijuana involved is four ounces or less. Even people growing only one plant will likely face felony charges with relatively steep penalties.

Unless your plant is a tiny plant you just started growing, it likely already weighs well over four ounces. Law enforcement are also likely to weigh the plant while it's still wet and include some of the weight of the soil or growing medium in their weight.

Weights ranging from four ounces to five pounds result in a felony offense that has a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days. Jail time of up to two years is possible. If the total weight of the plants is between five and 50 pounds, the sentence increases to between a minimum of two years and 10 years. Plants weighing between 50 and 2,000 pounds carry between two and 20 years in jail. All these felony offenses also carry a fine of $10,000.

Medical marijuana use won't work as a defense

You might think that because Texas has a medical marijuana law, you can use that in your defense. Even if you have the only condition that qualifies under the existing law, which is intractable epilepsy, the law still does not allow for cultivation of marijuana. Those who have a right to use cannabis oils under this law must purchase them from licensed dispensaries.

Growing marijuana in Texas is a serious offense, and anyone who finds themselves facing charges related to the cultivation of marijuana should explore all of their options for a rigorous defense carefully.

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