The growing movement to decriminalize and even legalize marijuana in states across the US may seem like it only just started. In fact, Oregon first passed laws to decriminalize marijuana in 1973.
It took nearly 10 more years for any other states to decriminalize cannabis despite this early lead.
The fight to get marijuana recognized as a viable medical therapy continues to this day. Every year more and more states decriminalize the possession of marijuana. 10 states have even legalized recreational use.
So can Texas residents expect any new changes to marijuana laws in the near future?
Read on to learn all about Texas weed laws and the current campaign to decriminalize marijuana there.
Is Marijuana Legal in Texas? Current Laws
Texas has not decriminalized the possession of marijuana and recreational use is illegal.
In 2015, Texas passed a very strict medical marijuana bill allowing the use of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis for patients with intractable epilepsy. Patients cannot cultivate their own plants and must purchase their legal CBD oil through a qualifying physician and dispensary.
It is a criminal offense to break Texas weeds laws and results in a misdemeanor or felony charge.
The bare minimum sentencing applies to someone caught with 2 ounces or less. Even they face a Class B misdemeanor charge, up to 180 days in jail, and a fine of no more than $2,000.
The same goes for the minimum sentencing in the sale or delivery of cannabis. It applies to those caught with 7 grams or less, but only if the person intended it as a gift. If the accused person sold the marijuana commercially, it increases the jail time up to a year and the fine to $4,000.
Can Residents Expect New Texas Weed Laws Soon?
Texas state legislators addressed the legality of marijuana during their 86th session in 2019. Two important bills passed the House and await Senate approval. Learn more about them below.
Expansion of Texas’s Medical Marijuana Program
On May 8, 2019, the Texas House gave final approval for House Bill 3703.
HB 3703 would expand the state’s very narrow list of qualifying conditions to include multiple sclerosis, spasticity, and other forms of epilepsy. It also seeks to eliminate the need for patients to get two physicians to approve cannabis use.
Decriminalizing Possession of Marijuana
House Bill 63 also passed during the 86th session and awaits approval from the Senate. The bill seeks to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in Texas. However, HB 63 saw several changes before it made it to the House floor.
The amended bill that passed the House reduces possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor. The original bill would have seen that lowered further from a criminal offense to a civil offense.
The Best Defense When Caught in Possession of Marijuana
Residents will see no major changes to Texas weeds laws until the next state legislative session, which doesn’t begin until January 2021. So cannabis remains illegal in Texas except in the case of medical marijuana for patients with intractable epilepsy.
If you get arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, you still face at least a Class B misdemeanor, jail time, and a big fine. Don’t face these life-altering charges alone.
Get help from the Law Office of Roland J. Garcia. They offer reliable representation when you need a criminal defense attorney in San Antonio.
Contact the office for a free consultation today!