Fortunately, at least for them, the governor has now deviated from his tough anti-cannabis stance.
Penalties in Texas remain among the most severe in the USA. In summer 2019, the Texas Department of Public Safety ordered its police officers not to arrest people but to issue citations whenever possible in misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, which still carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Other cities, such as El Paso, are considering enacting the “cite-and-release” policies. In Austin, the city council voted against arresting and fining citizens found in possession on marijuana, and to cease spending funds on testing for THC levels. However, there was push back from the police chief who claimed he would continue to issue tickets and arrest people, despite the fact that no penalties would arise.
If you are caught, you could face penalties ranging from 180 days in jail to $2,000 in fines to a worst-case scenario of life in prison and $50,000 in fines.
This is a confusing time for people considering growing cannabis in Texas. There may well be further relaxation of the rules in the future. A recent poll suggested a majority of voters were in favor of marijuana legalization, especially for medicinal use.
Cannabis is illegal in Texas and has been since 1931. However, there is currently some confusion. In 2019, the Texan federal government decided that hemp could be legalized, although marijuana could not, even though they grow from the same plant. Basically, marijuana is the part that contains THC – still illegal – while hemp contains cannabinoids or CBD, which are popularly used for medicinal purposes. In 2019, hemp was legalized in Texas when the state legislature passed HB 1325. The law came into effect on June 10, 2019, making cannabis with less than 0.3% legal hemp as THC, while anything more important is considered marijuana.
There are no separate growing laws in Texas. If you are found growing cannabis, it is classed as possession, unlike many other states, where growing laws carry separate penalties.
However, penalties for marijuana possession remain high, so you have to question whether this is a risk you are willing to take. In Texas, state law currently permits prosecutors to press criminal charges, most often misdemeanors for small quantities, against users of recreational cannabis. Fines increase in terms of possession – the more cannabis, the higher the penalty. People can be easily fined more than $1000 with added jail time depending on the amount. Possession of fewer than 56 grams can be punished with six months in prison and a $2,000 fine. Several influential politicians are currently calling for reform of the marijuana law.
Repeat Misdemeanor Offenses:
* With no prior felony convictions, if convicted of possession of less than one pound of marijuana a judge must impose a sentence of probation with mandatory drug treatment. If no treatment center exists within the jurisdiction, the judge may waive the treatment requirement. They judge can also waive all fines.
The penalty for delivery, without remuneration, of one-quarter of an ounce or less is up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000. For delivery or sale of one-quarter of an ounce or less the penalty is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $ 3,000. For delivery or sale of amounts greater than one-quarter ounce of marijuana the penalty increases to 180 days – 2 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000. Sale or delivery of greater than five pounds is punishable by 2 – 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. The penalty for delivery or sale of greater than 50 pounds is 5 – 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. For any amount of 2,000 pounds or greater, the penalty is a mandatory minimum 10 – 99 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
San Antonio NORML
1126 W. Mulberry
San Antonio, TX 78201
Contact: Heather Brockus
Email: [email protected]
PO Box 420687
Houston, TX 77242-0687
Phone: (281) 752-9198
Contact: Cheryl Nolin
E-mail: [email protected]
Web Site: http://www.houstonnorml.org