Marijuana use and possession continue to become legalized in states across the country. However, Texas is one of 13 states that outlaws it for recreational purposes.
Instead, the state allows for precise concessions for which a person in Texas can own and use this substance. You can avoid being charged for marijuana possession and recreational use by understanding under what circumstances that it is legal to have and use marijuana.
Illegal Recreational Use and Possession of Marijuana
Under most circumstances, it is illegal to own, possess and sell marijuana for recreational use in Texas. You cannot grow it to smoke in your own home, for example. You also cannot sell or have it on you for the sole purpose of using it for non-medicinal purposes. If you are found to be in possession of, selling or using marijuana, you could face serious criminal penalties.
However, Texas does allow for certain exceptions to this law. If, for example, the marijuana that you own and use has a THC level of less than 0.3 percent, you will not be charged with illegal use or possession. Likewise, any plant that you grow or have in your possession must be considered to be a hemp plant instead of a marijuana plant.
Further, it is illegal in Texas to possess and use any substance or products other than hemp that contains THC. These products and substances include:
- Vape cartridges
- Vape juices
If any of them are found to contain marijuana in them, they could lead to your arrest if you use, sell and own them for recreational purposes.
Illegal Interstate Possession and Carrying
Texas also makes it illegal for people to bring in marijuana and marijuana products from states where recreational use is legal. For example, if someone from Texas travels to Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal, and purchases marijuana products there, they cannot bring those products back into the state. It is against the law to possess and carry this drug that you purchased in another state back to your home in Texas.
The ban on interstate transport of marijuana and marijuana products extends to edibles that you can buy in another state where recreational use and possession are legal. If you bring back edibles, such as gummy candy or wax that contain illegal amounts of THC, you can be arrested for and charged with marijuana possession and transport.
Legal Marijuana Use
While Texas outlaws the recreational use and possession of marijuana, it does allow for this substance to be used for medical purposes. In fact, under the state’s Compassionate Use program, people with certain health conditions may be approved to own, purchase and use marijuana for relief of their symptoms.
The health conditions that merit the compassionate use of marijuana in Texas under this program include:
- Terminal cancer
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Some forms of epilepsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Incurable neurodegenerative disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
To be eligible for the Compassionate Use program in Texas, you must have a qualified medical profession in the state diagnosis you with one of these ailments. You also must provide documentation of the diagnosis to the state to be approved for using marijuana for relief of your symptoms.
Legal Use of CBD
Texas also allows for the legal use of products that contain CBD, or cannabidoil. CBD products like gummies, vape cartridges, lotions and others are legal to buy, sell, possess and use in Texas.
However, Texas state law cautions consumers that the Federal Drug Administration does not monitor the manufacturing or testing of CBD products. It does not ensure that CBD products sold in Texas contain under the legal amount of THC. If you buy, use, sell or own anything with illegal amounts of THC in it, you could be arrested and face serious criminal and civil penalties.
House Bill 3703
Marijuana use and possession are also legalized in certain circumstances under House Bill 3703. This bill is designed to protect students who have been prescribed medical marijuana. It prohibits them from being charged if they are found to produce, own, transport or handle this drug.
This house bill in Texas also allows for marijuana research programs within the state. It likewise allows for the legal existence of marijuana dispensaries and further defines the qualifications for doctors who prescribe marijuana to their patients.
Texas Marijuana Cite and Release Law
If you are found to illegally own, use, possess or sell marijuana in Texas outside of the state’s stipulated exceptions, you can face serious criminal penalties. However, law enforcement may be inclined to ticket and let you go under the state’s Cite and Release law if you are found to have fewer than four ounces of marijuana on you at the time of your arrest.
Under this law, you will receive a citation and be told to appear in court later if you are found with at or under this marijuana weight. When you appear in court, however, you can be charged and punished just as if you were arrested and detained.
The Cite and Release law in Texas stipulates that you must reside in the same county as where you were detained and found to be in possession of marijuana. If you are detained outside of the county where you live, you can be arrested and taken to jail if you are found to have marijuana on you when law enforcement detains you.
Likewise, the law does not apply if the county prosecutor prefers that everyone who possesses marijuana on them be arrested. Even if you are detained in the same county where you live, you may be arrested if the county prosecutor demands it.
Penalties for Marijuana Crimes in Texas
Texas utilizes a variety of civil and criminal punishments for people who are found guilty of marijuana possession, sale, use and transport. Even the lowest level of penalties can result in you being heavily fined. The harshest penalties may even see you being sent to prison.
Because of the severity of penalties that come with illegal marijuana use, sale, transport and possession, you need to hire an attorney if you have been arrested for any of these crimes. Your attorney will know how the marijuana laws in Texas work and in what way to use them to your case’s advantage. With his or her assistance, you may be found not guilty, have the charges against you lowered or dropped and possibly escape harsh penalties that might land you in jail and force you to pay heavy penalties.
Your lawyer can also determine if the search and seizure of your person, vehicle, home or possessions were legal and merited. They can also ensure that your constitutional rights are protected throughout the case and that you do not incriminate yourself for something that you did not do and for which you should not be punished.
Texas outlaws marijuana in all but a few select circumstances. It is important for you to know in what cases that you can legally own, use, sell and transport this substance. You can also protect yourself by hiring an experienced attorney like Brett Podolsky to represent you if you have been arrested on an illegal marijuana charge.