Compared with other states, including a state that shares one of our borders, Texas continues broadly to prohibit the use of recreational marijuana, even in small amounts. Additionally, even medicinal use of certain THC products is fairly restrictive.
Under state law, someone found in possession of marijuana in any amount faces up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If the person pleads guilty or is convicted, a misdemeanor drug conviction could be on that person’s criminal record.
The possible penalty increases to a year in jail if a person has 2 ounces of the drug in her possession, and a felony conviction and prison time is possible if a person has more than 4 ounces. These penalties apply even if a person had no plans to distribute the drug.
However, there may be options available to first-time drug offenders caught with a small amount of marijuana. For example, Harris County has an official policy of not arresting people with less than 4 ounces of marijuana.
Aggravating circumstances can elevate marijuana charges to felonies
Texas’s laws also punish marijuana-related crimes more harshly if certain aggravating circumstances are involved.
For example, if a Galveston County resident distributes more than 7 grams of marijuana, which is about a quarter of an ounce, then he will face a felony charge under Texas law.
Also, any distribution of marijuana to a minor is a felony with a mandatory 2-year prison term and a $10,000 fine.
Those accused of marijuana-related crimes may need an aggressive defense
The bottom line for League City residents is that no matter how they may feel about it, recreational marijuana remains illegal in this state. This means that police and prosecutors are still free to make arrests and file charges subject only to their local policies.
In some situations, the best option for a person accused of a marijuana-related crime is to negotiate a reasonable deal with the local prosecutor.
In other cases, though, the police and prosecutors may simply not have enough evidence to prove their case. They may also have obtained some of their evidence illegally. In these situations, an aggressive defense may be the best option.