Today, marijuana use has been legalized in an increasing number of states and countries. While some websites claim that Texas has legalized weed for medical use, this is only partially true. Your medical card from another state will not stop you from encountering legal trouble in Texas if you are caught possessing or growing marijuana. Here are the important details of the Texas drug laws that you should be aware of.
Texas Compassionate Use Program (CUP)
Texas drug laws are clear. It is still illegal to grow, possess, or use marijuana except for the limited use under the Texas Compassionate Use Act. In 2015 the Texas Legislature passed the Compassionate Use Act. This act, also known as Senate Bill 339, required the Department of Public Safety to create a registry for doctors who treat epilepsy so they can prescribe low-THC cannabis for use by patients who have intractable epilepsy. Senate Bill 339 also provided for a limited number of licensed dispensaries and growers. It does not allow users to grow their own.
In addition to a diagnosis of epilepsy, those qualified to purchase and use low-THC cannabis must also be a permanent resident of Texas. The diagnosis and recommendation must be agreed upon by two qualified physicians. The law explicitly prohibits use or purchase unless the person has a prescription written by a physician registered with the CUP program.
Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Texas
The laws concerning drug possession in Texas are harsh. Texas currently has four classifications for drugs, each with different penalties. Marijuana has its own penalty group. Synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice and K2 are in the same group.
Cannabinols are derived from cannabis and are considered to be hallucinogens and are part of the penalty 2 group of laws which covers all cannabis products, as well as MDMA, hashish and PCP. According to Texas drug laws 2018, marijuana possession is punishable based on the quantity on hand.
Even small amounts of marijuana can result in jail time. Small amounts of marijuana, typically under two ounces, are a class B misdemeanor. You can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Possession of derivatives carries a stiffer sentence of up to two years. The judge can order you into a treatment or diversion program. You can also lose your driver’s license.
Larger quantities come with stiffer prison sentences. Possession of 2-4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor and can result in up to ten years of prison time. 4 ounces to five pounds is a State felony. Charges increase with greater quantities. Also, you run the risk of being accused and convicted of drug trafficking which carries sentences of up to life in prison and fines up to $50,000.
Should you take the risk?
Many states have eliminated or reduced the penalties for marijuana possession. However, weed is still illegal in Texas, and use carries the risk of significant jail time and fines. Those who are caught in possession of marijuana without a valid medical prescription can face serious consequences.
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