In Houston, across Harris County and throughout Texas, people are likely to be confused about the potential changes to cannabis laws. Despite it being legalized in of many states across the nation, that is not the case in Texas. Therefore, it is imperative for people to be aware of the cannabis laws in the Long Star State. When there is an arrest, forging a viable defense is crucial to avoid the long-term consequences of a conviction.
Cannabis in Texas: What are the laws and penalties?
In Texas, cannabis can only be used within a limited amount by people who need it for medical purposes. For those who want to use it recreationally, it is still illegal. A person who possesses or cultivates less than four ounces will be charged with a misdemeanor. If it is more than that, it is a felony. When selling it, less than seven grams is a misdemeanor; at least seven is a felony. If a person has paraphernalia for these substances, it is a misdemeanor. Selling the paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor provided it is a first offense. A subsequent offense is a felony.
The penalties vary based on the amount a person has. For example, if it is less than two ounces, it is a Class B misdemeanor with a chance of 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. Four ounces is a Class A misdemeanor with up to a year in jail and a fine of $4,000. There can also be a diversion program. The penalties then escalate to felonies. People who are selling cannabis or are simply delivering it can also be charged with a variety of misdemeanors and felonies based on the amount. It has become common for Harris County to eschew harsher penalties for a diversion program if it is a small amount of cannabis. If it is less than four ounces, the diversion program is generally available and will avoid major consequences if the program is completed successfully.
When arrested on cannabis charges, a comprehensive defense is key
It is a mistake for people in Texas to think that the incremental legalization of cannabis and related substances nationally means that there will not be significant problems when there is an arrest on drug charges in the state. Whether it is a person who had the substance for his or her own use, was selling a small amount or was allegedly involved in high-level trafficking and distribution, it is vital to know how to formulate a defense to address the charges. Consulting with experienced professionals can analyze the case and craft a strategy.