In general, Texas marijuana laws are some of the strictest marijuana laws in the United States. However, in 2021, the Texas legislature voted to pass a proposed bill that would allow and expand the use of medical marijuana for patients who qualify for a medical condition that requires cannabis as part of their medical treatment plan.
Regarding the recreational use of marijuana in Texas, there are no bills proposed that would fully legalize cannabis in the state. This means that except for individuals who hold a valid prescription for medical marijuana, a Texas resident cannot use, sell, or grow marijuana in the state.
If an individual has any questions about marijuana in Texas, they should consult with a local Texas attorney.
What Are Texas Laws on Marijuana Possession?
In Texas, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under its own drug category scheme. This means that an individual can go to jail for possession of marijuana in the State of Texas.
An individual may face up to a $2,000 fine as well as a jail sentence of 180 days if they are convicted of simple possession. Simple possession of under two ounces of cannabis, such as when an individual is caught with an ounce of weed, is a class B misdemeanor in Texas.
In contrast, if an individual is found in possession of more than four ounces of marijuana, they can be charged with a felony. If convicted, the defendant will automatically be required to serve a minimum jail sentence of 180 days.
Additionally, under Texas law, it is illegal to possess, sell, grow, drive under the influence of, or sell or own drug paraphernalia associated with cannabis. Any individual who is charged and convicted of marijuana crimes in Texas may face significant civil and criminal fines in addition to a potential prison sentence.
The punishment that a defendant who is convicted receives will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The facts of the particular criminal case;
- The quantity of marijuana with which the defendant was caught;
- The local rules in the Texas county where the charges are filed.
Although marijuana is illegal in Texas, there are certain counties within the state that have started relaxing their local laws. For example, in March of 2021, the police in Dallas stated that they would stop charging individuals in possession of less than two ounces of cannabis unless other factors were present, such as carrying a firearm.
There are also two other Texas counties, Austin and Plano, that have seen a reduction in the penalties for cannabis. It is important for an individual to be aware of the most updated marijuana laws, especially if they are facing charges.
An individual should consult with a Texas criminal lawyer in their county immediately as they may be facing jail time.
What Are the Penalties for the Sale and Delivery of Marijuana?
The penalties for the sale and delivery of marijuana vary depending on the amount of the substance that is involved in the offense, for example:
- .25 oz. or less: This is a Class B misdemeanor;
- .25 oz. or less: This is a Class A misdemeanor with remuneration;
- .25 oz. to 5 lbs.: This is a state jail felony;
- 5 lbs. to 50 lbs.: This is a 2nd-degree felony;
- 50-2000 lbs.: This is a 1st-degree felony; and
- Over 2000 lbs.: This is punishable by Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice institutions for life or ten to 99 years, fines up to $100.000, or both.
What About Other Sales?
In addition to the sale and delivery laws discussed above, there are also other penalties that may apply in specific sales situations. If the delivery is made to a minor under the age of 17 who is enrolled in school and the amount is over .25 ounces, it is a 2nd-degree felony.
In addition, if the sale is made within a drug-free zone, the penalties will be doubled.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal?
As noted above, the Texas laws on the use and expansion of medical marijuana went into effect in September 2021. Although individuals with a valid prescription for medical marijuana, an individual can not purchase and use the substance in accordance with the rules outlined in the Texas state medical marijuana program, it is illegal for a private Texas state resident to sell or grow marijuana, even if they have a valid prescription to use marijuana for their medical condition.
The only individuals who are permitted to sell and grow medical marijuana are those who have a license to grow, sell, and produce medical marijuana under the Texas state program. Currently, there are only three companies in Texas that are approved for this.
Whether or not Texas will see an increase in legalized medical marijuana sales will depend on other legislation, as well as whether the current restrictions on the program are reduced.
What About Giving a Baggie to a Friend?
An individual cannot give a gift of a baggie of either recreational or medical marijuana to a friend in Texas. This conduct is illegal under state laws but may not be accompanied by strict penalties depending on the county where the individual was charged and convicted.
This means that an individual who transfers cannabis to another individual may face the same penalties as they would for simple possession. Based on the current legislation on medical marijuana laws in Texas, it is important to note that this type of conduct is not allowed even if both of the individuals are registered as medical marijuana users.
This restriction is because medical marijuana prescriptions are tailored to each individual patient. If an individual is charged with simple possession, it may result in jail time and a fine of up to $2,000.
An individual may be charged with constructive possession under Texas laws just by knowing that they are in the proximity of marijuana, whether it is medical or not, and having the ability to maintain control over it. Because of this, it is very important that medical marijuana users be conscious of other individuals who are near or know where they keep their medical marijuana.
Otherwise, this may lead to a friend or a family member being charged with marijuana possession.
Can I Travel to Texas with My Medical Marijuana?
Generally, the transportation of marijuana across state lines is classified as a federal crime. This is because both medical and recreational marijuana are illegal substances under federal law.
In addition, not all states have legalized the use of medical or recreational marijuana. This means that an individual may face charges for both federal and state drug crimes for transporting marijuana across state lines.
Currently, Texas does not have reciprocity regulations with other states’ medical marijuana programs. An individual must be a permanent resident of the State of Texas in order to purchase and use medical marijuana.
Do I Need a Texas Lawyer?
If you are facing any type of drug charges in Texas, it is essential to consult with a Texas drug lawyer. As noted above, Texas has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country.
Your lawyer can advise you of the most current marijuana laws, how they affect your case, and what defenses, if any, may be available to you. Your attorney will also provide you with representation in court or during any negotiations or attempts to work out a plea deal with the prosecution.