Although legalization of marijuana has gained ground in a number of states and cities, it remains very much illegal in Houston, Galveston, and the rest of Texas. Last year a Texas House of Representatives committee endorsed a bill to legalize “recreational use” of marijuana, but the full House never passed the measure. It is therefore safe to say that marijuana will remain illegal throughout Texas for the foreseeable future.
How Much Marijuana Determines How Much Jail Time
There is no “legal” amount of marijuana that a person may possess or grow under Texas law. But the more marijuana a person is caught with, the harsher the penalties. At the lowest end of the spectrum, possession of two ounces or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. The maximum penalties are doubled for possession of up to four ounces—a $4,000 fine and one year in jail—and beyond that marijuana possession becomes a felony that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Six ounces of marijuana, for example, would earn a convicted offender a mandatory jail term of no less than 180 days and no more than two years, plus a potential fine of up to $10,000. In theory a person could spend the rest of their life in jail if caught with enough marijuana: The maximum penalty for possession of over 2,000 pounds of marijuana is 99 years imprisonment.
Harsher Penalties for Selling and Distributing Marijuana
The sale of marijuana is treated differently than simple possession or cultivation. Criminal penalties are imposed at a much lower threshold. For instance, while cultivation or possession of two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor, selling the same amount is classified as a felony. This is because the lowest penalty threshold for selling marijuana is capped at seven grams—about one-quarter of one ounce. Any sale below seven ounces is a misdemeanor; above that is automatically a felony. The penalties are also lower for gifting—distributing marijuana without receiving any remuneration—less than seven ounces: a maximum $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail versus $4,000 and one year.
A Galveston Marijuana Lawyer Can Help with Charges of Marijuana Possession
Any type of drug conviction, even misdemeanor possession of marijuana, can have far-reaching implications for your personal and professional life. That is why you should not attempt to deal with a drug charge without the advice of an experienced Houston drug crimes attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in League City today if you require immediate legal assistance.