Although the State of Texas is moving toward decriminalizing the possession of a small amount of marijuana, criminal charges related to the possession or sale of pot remain extremely serious. In fact, being convicted of marijuana possession can negatively impact your future in myriad ways. In Texas, marijuana possession charges are disproportionately high. Such charges can be extremely damaging – especially when they are levied at young people (as is often the case).
Incentivizing Marijuana Arrests
In relation to other illegal drugs, the possession of marijuana makes for fairly easy arrests:
- Marijuana is bulky
- Marijuana has a distinctive odor that lingers
- There are federal incentives in place that encourage strict enforcement of marijuana drug laws
All of this adds up to make marijuana possession charges fairly straightforward and to motivate prosecutors to bring them in the first place, which likely contributes to their continued preponderance.
Marijuana’s Changing Role in Today’s World
The fact is that society’s attitude toward marijuana has been steadily changing in recent years. Medical marijuana is legal in many states, and the legalization of recreational usage is now a reality in several states. Further, more and more people support the legalization of marijuana across the board. The fact that the drug is illegal at the federal level, however, complicates the issue. As such, marijuana possession charges in Texas remain common.
Youth Possession Charges
The young are especially vulnerable to facing marijuana possession charges – and living with the attendant negative consequences of a conviction. Young people lack the impulse control and logical reasoning skills of more mature adults, which places them at far greater risk of being charged with possession. Teenagers have their entire lives ahead of them, including plans for furthering their education, and such charges can quickly derail these important plans. A conviction of marijuana possession is also stigmatizing and can affect one’s ability to get a job.
Texas Hemp Legislation
While the State of Texas appears to be moving closer to the decriminalization of marijuana, an agriculture bill decriminalizing hemp was recently passed. Hemp, which comes from the same plant as marijuana does, was deemed a legal crop – as long as it remains at 0.3 percent THC (or lower). Anything that exceeds this THC threshold is considered marijuana and remains illegal. Time alone will tell how this new legislation will play out in the courts, but it is safe to say that marijuana possession charges are likely to continue apace for the foreseeable future.