Marijuana Possession Laws and Penalties in Texas

May 5th, 2015 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime, Marijuana Possession


The legal landscape for the possession and use of marijuana has changed considerably in the last 10 years.

In fact, 23 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws on the books that legalize marijuana for a varying number of reasons, according to Governing Magazine. Of those 23, 4 states — Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Washington — have legalized it for recreational use in recent years. The District of Columbia’s residents just this past year voted to approve a referendum that legalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana.

The other states have legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, with the exact rules governing each state varying slightly.

In Texas, however, marijuana is outlawed for any purpose. Tens of thousands are arrested for possession of marijuana in the state every year — the FBI reported that 130,000 were arrested for drug abuse violations in 2013.

What is the law in Texas concerning marijuana possession?

Texas law holds that the possession, use, sale and/or harvesting of marijuana is illegal. Texas statute 481.121 outlines the various levels of offense and the corresponding possible punishments for each offense. The severity of punishment generally hinges on the amount of marijuana you allegedly have in your possession.

  • 2 oz or less: Class B misdemeanor with penalty of up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of $2,000
  • Between 2 and 4 oz: Class A misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 1 year in county jail and fine of up to $4,000
  • Between 4 oz and 5 lbs: State jail felony with a penalty of between 180 days and 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Between 5 and 50 lbs: 3rd degree felony with a penalty of between 2 and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Between 50 and 2,000 lbs: 2nd degree felony with a penalty of between 2 and 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $10,000
  • More than 2,000 lbs: Enhanced 1st degree felony with a penalty of between 5 and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000

What should I do if I’ve been arrested for possession of marijuana in Texas?

While there has been some movement in the state with regard to changing the marijuana laws in the past week alone, it’s looking unlikely the laws will be changing anytime soon. According to the Houston Chronicle, a state House Committee just last week voted to approve legislation to make it legal to buy and sell marijuana in Texas. The piece of legislation, however, has “virtually no chance” of actually getting full approval from the state legislature as a whole, according to the Chronicle.

If you’ve been arrested for possession of marijuana in Houston, contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today. Being arrested and criminally charged can be confusing enough. We can walk you through your rights and responsibilities, how to proceed with the case and what ramifications you might face as a result.


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