Marijuana Possession Laws: Changes Proposed

handcuffs and marijuana leaf

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The State of Texas has a reputation for being tough when it comes to drugs, and it is. Nevertheless, many in the state feel a shift coming when it comes to marijuana possession. The thought is that Texas is preparing to join the several states in the nation that have legalized recreational marijuana.

The Bill

Texas State Representative Roland Gutierrez recently introduced a bill that would legalize the possession of fewer than two ounces of marijuana. In case the measure is not ultimately adopted, Representative Jessica González filed another bill that would allow individual cities and counties within the state to do the legalizing (of recreational cannabis) on their own. Two other state reps have submitted bills that would expand medical marijuana’s use. No matter how you look at it – in other words – the great big State of Texas is moving closer to loosening its legal grip on marijuana.

Police Weigh In

The Dallas Police Chief recently proposed that Dallas police officers should no longer arrest or even cite those found in possession of marijuana in an amount that is less than two ounces (in most situations). The number of marijuana arrests relative to overall arrests is simply too high – the Chief maintains – and this proposal would free up officers to attend to more critical police work.

Exceptions to the Rule

The Dallas Police Chief’s proposal includes the following exceptions to the no-arrest/no-citation rule, including:

  • If the officers have a credible reason for believing the marijuana is part of an effort to distribute

  • If the tools of distribution, such as baggies and a digital scale, are present

  • If the defendant is witnessed distributing the drug

  • If – in addition to the marijuana – the defendant possesses a firearm

As Things Stand

While change certainly seems to be in the air, the laws – as they relate to marijuana – right now remain both strict and harsh. Consider the following:

  • A misdemeanor conviction for possession of fewer than 2 ounces of marijuana can lead to 180 days behind bars and a fine of up to $2,000.

  • A misdemeanor conviction for possession of between 2 and 4 ounces of marijuana can lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

  • A felony conviction for possession of any amount of marijuana that ranges from 4 ounces to up to 5 pounds can lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days to two years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The fines and penalties increase significantly from here.

Seek the Legal Help You Need from an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal drug charges are serious, and Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a resourceful criminal defense lawyer who takes building your most-solid criminal defense just as seriously. For more information, please do not wait to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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