Marijuana Possession Arrest Plunge in TX After Hemp Legalization

January 1, 2020 | By Shane Phelps Law
Marijuana Possession Arrest Plunge in TX After Hemp Legalization

Although cannabis remains illegal in Texas, the legalization of hemp in the middle of 2019 has complicated how state police make arrests for marijuana possession since law enforcement officials cannot tell the difference between each form of cannabis crop without conducting a lab test. Hemp only contains at least .03 percent of THC, which is the substance that gives marijuana users a high. 

Since hemp was legalized, there has been a substantial drop in marijuana arrests. Recent data from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) shows that there were more than 45,000 fewer arrests in 2019 compared to 2018, which is a 30-percent decrease. When it comes to cannabis manufacturing arrests, there have been 800 fewer arrests in 2019 compared to the previous year since hemp was legalized. 

In addition, prosecutors across Texas have dismissed hundreds of low-level marijuana possession cases. In February 2020, state officials announced that labs would not perform lab tests in misdemeanor cases. 

Cities and towns throughout the state have enacted local cannabis reforms. For example, the Austin City County approved a resolution that ended arrests for simple possession of marijuana, while San Antonio enacted a cite-and-release program. 

But other areas, such as Brazos County, will continue to enforce marijuana criminal laws by the book. According to Texas law, possession of under two ounces of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to 180 days and a maximum fine of $2,000. 

If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug possession in College Station or Bryan, contact Shane Phelps Law. today at (979) 775-4100 for a free consultation. Get a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience on your side!