Our state is known for exalting personal freedom above all else, but even here, those freedoms are limited by state and federal laws. Marijuana is a prime example. Only very limited medicinal marijuana is allowable, but even a small amount of marijuana for personal use could have consequences.
Medical use allowability
Limited medical marijuana use is legal here in Texas. Through the Compassionate Use Program, residents with severe medical conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, autism, epilepsy, etc., can get cannabis oil. However, that cannabis oil is limited to less than 1% THC by weight.
Misdemeanors and felonies
Texas legal code presents two levels of charges for drug-based offenses, misdemeanors and felonies. For possession of marijuana, the potential charges depend on the amount of marijuana. For amounts less than 4 ounces, the charge ranges from a Class A to Class B misdemeanor. For amounts greater than 4 ounces, the charges can be as high as a second-degree felony.
Range of Penalties
For Class A misdemeanors, you could spend up to a year behind bars, a fine up to $4,000 or both. Class B misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of 180 days, a fine up to $2,000 or both. So, even the smallest amount of marijuana could affect your freedom. For felonies, depending on the severity, sentences can vary from as little as, 180 days to as extreme as 99 years to life. The charge can also include fines that range from $10,000 to $50,000, which can be in addition to jail time.
What if I am facing charges?
Charges alone can destroy your reputation and eliminate educational and employment opportunities across the country. This is because police often release press releases with your information in them, tailored to make you look guilty. Even if you are later found not guilty, that original press release will still likely show up in Internet search results and your arrest will show up on background checks. This means that potential schools, employers and even dates may believe you got away with something. You could even be denied housing.
If you find yourself facing marijuana charges in the Houston area you still have rights. You do not have to make statements to the police. You do not have to provide consent to a search. You may request an attorney, if charged. A criminal defense attorney understands that there is more to you than a charge, and they will work on your behalf to uphold your rights.