Many states have legalized marijuana in the last decade, and if some state lawmakers get their way, Texas may soon be added to the list.
The 2021 legislative session has a couple of pre-filled bills that seek to legalize marijuana in the state already on the docket. There are some promising signs that it could happen, especially since Texas legalized industrial hemp cultivation in 2019.
Still, marijuana is illegal in Texas at present. If you are caught with marijuana, then you can face some serious legal challenges.
While you can hope that one day Texas joins the slew of other states who have legalized it, today it’s a good idea to reacquaint yourself with the penalties you can face if caught with marijuana in the Lone Star State.
How Texas Defines Marijuana Possession
The Texas Health and Safety Code defines marijuana possession as possessing any part of the marijuana plant, whether it’s actively growing or not. If you are caught with the seeds or any preparation of the plant, such as buds or a rolled joint, then it counts as marijuana possession under the law.
Charges and Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Texas
In Texas, it is illegal to cultivate or possess any amount of marijuana. How much marijuana is found will influence the charges and penalties that result.
Class B Misdemeanor
When you have two ounces or less of marijuana, this is what you can be charged with. The penalties include up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $2,000.
Class A Misdemeanor
If you are found with less than four ounces but more than two ounces, then you can face this charge. The penalty is up to 12 months in jail and fines of $4,000.
State Jail Felony
Being found with anywhere between four ounces and five pounds of marijuana will result in this charge. It is punished by up to two years in state prison and fines of $10,000.
Third Degree Felony
When you are caught in possession or found cultivating between five and 50 pounds of marijuana, then you can face up to 10 years in prison and fines of $10,000.
Second Degree Felony
If you’re caught with between 50 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana, you face up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
Enhanced First Degree Felony
For more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana, you can be sentenced to as much as 99 years in prison (with a minimum of five) and fines of $50,000.
Texas Drug Paraphernalia Laws
It’s also important to note that in Texas, you cannot sell, use, or manufacture drug paraphernalia. This includes items that can be used to grow, sell, store, harvest, process, or use marijuana.
If you are found in possession of paraphernalia, you may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. That would result in a fine of about $500 but not usually time in jail.
If you are caught selling paraphernalia, though, it’s considered a Class A misdemeanor. That can land you in jail for up to one year and make you responsible for fines of up to $4,000.
Furthermore, if you sell paraphernalia to minors, then it’s a state jail felony that can result in up to two years in a state jail and fines of $10,000.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.