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Popular marijuana trends could leave Texans legally vulnerable

As recently as the 1990s, marijuana was so socially taboo that mainstream movies hoping to depict marijuana users as characters never showed them smoking, only behaving as though they were under the influence.

These days, people using marijuana often aren't smoking either, as they are partaking in the current trend to consume marijuana-infused foods or using vaporization devices, such as vape pens, for more discretion and portability. Many people consider both of these options less-harm marijuana consumption methods when compared with smoking, which can damage the lungs.

Unfortunately, as popular as both of those consumption methods may be, they are very dangerous for people who live in Texas. Texas does not have legalization or decriminalization laws for marijuana on the books. Even the medical marijuana program in the state is so restrictive that some people claim it is ineffective. Getting caught with the wrong kind of marijuana products in Texas could result in very serious criminal charges.

The severity of the charges depends on the weight of the marijuana

The most confusing factor to many people about how Texas penalizes marijuana possession is the use of weight to establish the exact charges and penalties. There are different potential charges and penalties for different weights of marijuana. Police officers will collect and weigh the marijuana they find during a search. The weight provides the basis for the charges.

For those consuming marijuana-infused foods, the potential for more serious penalties may be higher, as police will use the full weight of the marijuana-infused foods to determine what charges to bring against an individual. Natural-state marijuana weighing less than 4 ounces will usually result in misdemeanor charges, but a single tray of marijuana-infused brownies could easily leave someone vulnerable to felony charges.

Marijuana extracts always carry felony consequences

When it comes to smokeable marijuana, which usually includes the dried flowers of the plant, individuals have to possess a very large amount to face felony charges. However, when it comes to marijuana concentrates, such as dabs for vape pens, any amount, even the tiny residue left behind after you smoke, could be enough for the state to bring felony charges against you.

The state of Texas considers marijuana concentrates a separate drug then natural marijuana, which means that vape pens can put people at significant risk. People often turn to vaporizers and similar devices because they are discreet and easy to carry. They may wrongly assume that law enforcement officers won't think to check a vaporization system and will always assume it's a nicotine replacement product.

Even if all police find is the residue in an otherwise empty cartridge, the person who owns it will face felony charges and serious penalties. An amount under a gram carries up to two years in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000.

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