Are Edibles Illegal in the State of Texas?

Handcuffs and a marijuana leaf.

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The status of marijuana laws in the State of Texas is continually evolving, but clarity is in short supply. The bottom line is that recreational marijuana is illegal across the board in the state – although some cities are attempting to decriminalize possession of small amounts.

Edibles refer to food products, such as gummies, that are infused with the psychoactive compound – THC – that’s found in marijuana. The effects of edibles are less immediate than smoking marijuana, but they can be more pronounced.

If you’re facing a drug charge of any kind in Texas, it’s a serious matter, and you shouldn’t wait to consult with an experienced Killeen criminal defense attorney.

Edibles

Illegal edibles can take many forms, including all the following:

● Gummies and other candies

● Baked goods, such as brownies and cookies

● Beverages, such as sodas and sweet drinks

A primary concern when it comes to edibles is their appearance, which can be indistinguishable from the food products that we consume on a daily basis. While it’s rare to smoke marijuana unintentionally, unintentional ingestion of edibles is more common, and the fact that the packaging used often mimics the packaging of popular snack brands doesn’t help.

A Brief and Confusing History of Marijuana Laws in Texas

In 2018, the federal government legalized hemp – subject to certain restrictions – with the Hemp Farming Act. Hemp is a form of cannabis that contains less than .3 percent THC and is defined as an agricultural commodity.

In 2019, Texas followed suit, and the fact that some forms of marijuana were legalized while others were not threw the legal landscape of marijuana into a state of confusion – according to The Texas Tribune. For example, while it’s legal to buy, sell, and possess hemp in Texas, processing and manufacturing smokable hemp in the state is legally banned.

Medical Marijuana

It wasn’t until 2015 that the State of Texas passed its Compassionate-Use Act, which legalized low-THC cannabis products for those patients specifically diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. The list of conditions has since been expanded to include other specific diseases that include all the following:

● Autism

● Cancer

● Multiple sclerosis

● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

● Epilepsy and other seizure disorders

● Spasticity

● Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

● Incurable neurodegenerative diseases

Medical marijuana is legal in the State of Texas only under very limited circumstances. Those who qualify are granted access to medical marijuana that is no more than .5 percent THC by weight.

A Recent Federal Shift

It’s been reported that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to lessen restrictions on marijuana by removing it from the Schedule I status it shares with the likes of methamphetamine and heroin.

If approved, marijuana would find itself classified in Schedule III with drugs that are unlikely to be abused and have medicinal value – such as Tylenol with codeine and steroids, which are prescription medications that are commonly used for pain and inflammation.

While this is big news, it won’t alter recreational marijuana laws at the state level, including in the State of Texas. To do that, Texas would have to implement more expansive laws, such as by legalizing recreational marijuana the way many other states have.

CBD Edibles vs. THC Edibles

Edibles, such as gummies, that contain CBD are often confused with edibles that contain cannabis. The difference is the amount of THC the edible contains. To qualify as a CBD edible, the amount of CBD must be below .3 percent THC, and when this is the case, they are legal in the State of Texas.

However, there is virtually no way for the authorities to make this distinction by sight – or even to distinguish between a mass-produced candy and an edible in some situations. In fact, even scientific testing for THC levels can be unreliable – and involves serious scientific testing.

In other words, charges related to edibles come with some built-in confusion. If you’re facing a drug charge involving edibles, it’s time to reach out for the skilled legal guidance of a dedicated criminal defense attorney.

Charges in Killeen

KTEM NewsRadio reports that, in late 2022, the citizens of Killeen voted in favor of a proposition that eliminates the need for enforcement regarding low-level possession of marijuana, which refers to less than four ounces. Before allowing the proposition to go through, however, the City Council considered its options and, in a close vote, amended the new ordinance.

In the process, they removed the prohibition that would stop officers from citing the drug’s distinct smell as grounds for a search. The basics addressed by the ordinance include all the following:

  • It requires the Killeen police department to receive training on the ordinance and how it affects their policies and procedures.

  • It prohibits a Class C citation for drug paraphernalia in those instances when the police can’t also issue a marijuana charge.

  • It prohibits using resources, such as city funds or personnel, in order to test a substance for confirmation that it meets the legal definition of marijuana – in specific circumstances.

  • Charges for small amounts of marijuana, however, can be issued if the accused faces an additional charge.

Killeen has come under considerable heat for its progressive stance, and the specifics continue to evolve. While you are unlikely to face jail time for possession of less than four ounces of marijuana in Killeen, there are no guarantees on the matter. In other words, it’s complicated.

THC Edible Charges

Possession of less than four ounces of marijuana throughout the State of Texas is a misdemeanor, but possession of a marijuana extract, such as hash or resin, is a felony. When it comes to edibles, less than a gram can lead to a state jail felony, which carries from 180 days to two years in jail and fines of up to $10,000.

A sentence for a state jail felony must be served in full – with no opportunity for early release – and community supervision may also apply. As the weight of the edibles in your possession increases, so too does the potential sentence. Consider the following:

  • Possession of from 1 to 4 grams of THC edibles is a third-degree felony that carries a prison sentence of from 2 to 10 years and fines of up to $10,000.

  • Possession of from 4 to 400 grams of THC edibles is a second-degree felony that carries from 2 to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

  • Possession of more than 400 grams of THC edibles is a first-degree felony that carries a sentence of from 5 to 99 years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.

Ultimately, the law may simply take the weight of the seized edibles in your possession to determine the charge brought against you, which is especially relevant when the volume of THC oil in the product is impossible to determine.

This means that a large batch of THC edibles, such as brownies, could lead to a very serious charge even if the total amount of THC in the baked goods is relatively low.

The State’s Cite and Release Policy

The Texas Department of Public Safety adopted a cite and release position in 2019, which specifies that a person who is stopped with less than four ounces of marijuana in their possession will be given a citation and released.

This release, however, comes with the requirement of a later court appearance – at which point the accused will be prosecuted in the same manner that they would have been following an arrest.

This only applies, however, if the offense happens in the county that the accused resides in. Further, the wishes of the prosecutor in the jurisdiction in question are also considered, and some prosecutors prefer that anyone caught with any amount of marijuana be arrested.

FAQ

The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to marijuana and THC edible charges in Texas may help you better assess your own situation.

Is marijuana legal in Texas?

No, recreational marijuana is illegal in the state. While some cities like Killeen have attempted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug, it’s not a sure thing. Finally, medical marijuana in Texas has only limited applications.

What about CBD?

Cannabidiol oil – which is an active ingredient derived from the hemp plant that doesn’t lead to a high but that some people find beneficial in relation to anxiety, sleep disturbances, and more – is legal in the State of Texas.

When CBD products exceed the legal limit of .03 percent THC, however, they cross the line into illegal territory. This is where the line between legal edibles and illegal edibles is also drawn.

What are the laws for medical marijuana?

A permanent resident of Texas who has a health condition that’s included on a specific list can obtain a prescription for low-THC cannabis from a qualified medical professional. The drug cannot, however, contain more than .5 percent THC by weight.

What if I purchased the drug legally in another state?

The fact that you purchased marijuana in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana has no bearing on its legality in Texas. The bottom line is that marijuana in all forms is illegal in the State of Texas – regardless of where you purchased the drug.

Is marijuana possession a felony in Texas?

Yes, possession of more than four ounces of marijuana is a felony in Texas, and possession of more than two ounces of marijuana is a felony in a drug free zone.

Finally, possession of any amount of a THC edible is a felony. If the amount in your possession is less than a gram, it’s a state jail felony that carries from 180 days to two years in jail, and possession of more than a gram carries a prison sentence.

What should I do if I’m charged with possession?

If you’re charged with possession of marijuana or THC edibles, there are two primary steps you should take immediately to help protect your rights and the outcome of your case.

These include invoking your right to remain silent, which ensures that you won’t accidentally say anything that ultimately damages your defense, and consulting with a practiced criminal defense attorney as soon as you’re able to do so.

Do I really need an attorney?

If you want to limit the fines and penalties you face – as well as the social implications of drug conviction – you really do need a seasoned criminal defense attorney with a wealth of experience successfully handling complex marijuana cases backing you up. Your skilled attorney will help in all the following primary ways:

  • Helping you navigate the legal process as smoothly as possible

  • Ensuring that you have all the available evidence, including any that may speak to your innocence that the police or the prosecution may have

  • Choosing the right defense strategy for your unique case and employing it to your advantage

  • Doing everything in their power to have the charge against you dropped, and barring this, skillfully negotiating for a lessened charge and less harsh penalties – as applicable

  • When proceeding to trial is considered the preferred path forward, knowledgeably preparing your case for trial

Can I beat the charge against me?

The surest means of beating a charge related to marijuana or THC edibles is with a focused criminal defense attorney in your corner. The sooner you secure legal guidance, the better your chances of beating the charge.

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is a formidable Killeen criminal defense attorney who understands the legal and social significance of marijuana charges in Texas and will spare no effort in his skilled defense of your rights.

The outcome of your case is important to your future, so please don’t put off contacting or calling us at 254-781-4222 to schedule a free consultation and learn more today.

Related Reading

Do Not Neglect to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

How to Protect Your Rights When Detained by Law Enforcement in Texas?

Facing a Criminal Charge? The Answers to this FAQ May Help


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