In Texas and across the nation, college students are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to return to a somewhat normal life with in-person learning, attending sporting events, taking part in extracurricular activities and simply being around other people in their age range. Given the national challenges since early 2020, it is no surprise that people are enthusiastic for a return to a conventional everyday life.
For many, part of the college experienced is using marijuana. In Texas, however, it is still illegal to even possess a small amount of the drug. That is true despite many states choosing to decriminalize it or not even pursue criminal cases related to it. Even the Texas House of Representatives approved a reduction of its penalties for those who have small amounts of it. That does not mean it is legal, nor does it mean those who are charged with violations related to it will not be confronted with charges. Even with a criminal allegation in which many function under the belief is not serious, a conviction can negatively impact a college student’s future.
Understanding proposed law and the current law
If the new law eventually passes, people who were convicted for a small amount of marijuana would face lesser penalties and would eventually have a chance at expungement meaning that the conviction will seem like it never happened in the first place. The current law for possession of up to two ounces is a Class B misdemeanor with jail for up to six months and a fine of $2,000. If the law passes, those who have up to one ounce would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and not face jail time. If it is under an ounce, law enforcement would not even make an arrest.
This is a dramatic change to the normally set in stone laws of Texas when it comes to drugs. Even the public is changing its tune with a poll showing that 60% of people who responded saying that the substance should be legalized regardless of how much the person has in his or her possession. The criminal justice system can still be harsh depending on the amount a person has. For example, if a person has more than four ounces but less than five pounds, it is a state jail felony. Those who have five pounds to 50 pounds are facing a felony in the third-degree.
College students should be cognizant of their rights
Despite the changing perceptions surrounding marijuana possession, the law is the law meaning that people who are arrested and charged could deal with various consequences if they are convicted. If there is an arrest, knowing the available steps to lodge an effective defense is key. It is unwise to think that the penalties will be light because there is a growing movement to legalize marijuana or treat it as if it is unimportant. Having help is crucial to deal with these cases.