The legalization of marijuana has swept the country in recent years—with 10 states legalizing recreational use and 33 states approving medicinal use. While Texas is considered a medical marijuana state since 2015 due to the Compassionate Use Act, these laws are extremely limited in nature.
While pot is used to treat various medical conditions (e.g. cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, HIV/AIDS, anxiety, etc.), the only qualifying condition in Texas is epilepsy. Additionally, medical use is only applied to “low-THC cannabis” that is limited to 0.5 percent THC and even 10 percent or less CBD. THC produces “the high” marijuana is popularly known for, while CBD contains many of the plant’s medicinal properties.
Due to these restrictive laws, marijuana possession is mostly considered illegal unless you qualify for a medical prescription. Even a small amount can result in a lengthy jail sentence, expensive fines, and a permanent criminal record.
The following are the penalties for possession of cannabis based on amount:
- Under two ounces – Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Between two and less than four ounces – Class A misdemeanor, penalized by a jail term of up to one year and a maximum fine of $4,000.
- Between four ounces and five pounds – State jail felony, resulting in a maximum prison sentence of two years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Over five pounds and up to 50 pounds – Third-degree felony, penalized by a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine no larger than $10,000.
- Over 50 pounds and up to 2,000 pounds – Second-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a fine no larger than $10,000.
- Over 2,000 pounds – First-degree felony, resulting in a maximum 99-year prison sentence and a fine of $50,000.
The following are the penalties for sale (or possession with intent to sell) and cultivation of cannabis:
- Give away a quarter or an ounce or less – Class B misdemeanor
- Sell or cultivate a quarter of an ounce or less – Class A misdemeanor
- Sell or cultivate between over a quarter of an ounce and five pounds – State jail felony
- Sell or cultivate between five pounds and 50 pounds – Second-degree felony
- Sell or cultivate between 50 pounds and 2,000 pounds – First-degree felony
- Sell or cultivate over 2,000 pounds – First-degree felony with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years
Furthermore, it is against the law to possess, use, sell, or manufacture drug paraphernalia, from pipes and bongs to harvesting and processing equipment. Possession of drug paraphernalia is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 with no jail time. Sale of drug paraphernalia is a class A misdemeanor.