Marijuana Possession in Texas

Posted on: January 2, 2018

When it comes to marijuana, Texas has been reluctant to join the national trend toward liberalization. Although the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which legalized medical marijuana use was passed by the Legislature in 2015, the first licensed dispensary did not open until late 2017.

Efforts to enact laws decriminalizing or reducing sentences for simple possession of marijuana have gained no serious traction in Texas. Although some Texas counties have established diversion programs for first-time offenders accused of possessing amounts consistent with personal use, under state law possession of as little as an ounce of marijuana leaves, buds or even seeds in Texas can still result in incarceration for up to 180 days and a significant fine.

Texas drug laws place virtually all recognized controlled substances (including a number of so-called “designer” drugs) into one of six so-called “Penalty Groups.” The Group to which a substance is assigned governs, in part, the seriousness of a charge of possession and potential penalties. Heroin, opium, cocaine and similar “hard” drugs are placed in Penalty Group 1.

Marijuana is a Penalty Group of its own, and the seriousness of a marijuana possession charge and severity of the possible penalty are governed primarily by the amount in the defendant’s possession at the time of apprehension. Note, however, that concentrated marijuana products, are classified as Penalty Group 2 substances, and possession of any amount is a felony.

Amount Possessed

Crime

Possible Penalties

2 ounces or less

Class B misdemeanor

Not more than 180 days in a county jail and a fine of up to $2,000

More than 2 ounces, up to 4 ounces

Class A misdemeanor

Not more than 1 year in a county jail and a fine of up to  $4,000

More than 4 ounces, up to 5 pounds

Felony

Not fewer than 180 days but no more than 2 years incarceration  and a fine of up to $10,000

More than 5 pounds, up to 50 pounds

Third-degree felony

Not fewer than 2 nor more than 10 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000

More than 50 pounds, up to  one ton (2,000 pounds)

Second-degree felony

Not fewer than 2 nor more than 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000

 

More than 2,000 pounds

 

First-degree felony (enhanced)

Not fewer than 5 nor more than 99 years incarceration and a fine of up to $50,000

Intent to sell or distribute

The continued existence of marijuana growers, distributors or sellers is naturally dependent upon the continued presence of marijuana consumers. As such, the focus of law enforcement on disrupting the supply chain strikes many as illogical. It is most often justified by the emergence of domestic and foreign organized criminal organizations as primary wholesale growers and suppliers.

Whatever the merits of the argument, the reality is that selling or distributing marijuana in Texas is treated as a more serious crime than so-called “simple” possession. Moreover, no direct evidence of the intent to distribute is required. Possession of amounts in excess of “normal” personal use quantities, along with possession of implements (scales, for example) or supplies (baggies or labels) or unusually large amounts of cash may all be considered adequate circumstantial evidence.

If you have been accused of marijuana possession or possession with intent to distribute in the Grapevine, Texas area elsewhere in Tarrant County, contact us at {{MAIN CALL TRACKING NUMBER}} right away. Our team of experienced marijuana defense lawyers will be happy to assist you.

NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.