President Donald J. Trump stunned many political observers and pundits by winning the presidential election in 2016. He has promised that his administration will depart radically from the administration of President Barack H. Obama in virtually every way: President Trump has announced, for instance, plans to roll back or repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, to hire additional Border Patrol agents to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, and to “get tough” on those who use drugs, including marijuana and those who drive under the influence of marijuana. This could have serious – and confusing – ramifications for residents of Harris County.
The Current State of the Law in Texas on Marijuana Possession and Use
Although Texas passed the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2016, allowing certain eligible individuals to possess and use small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes, Forbes recently reported that the program is still not fully implemented. Other states around the country have also recently passed marijuana laws that decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana when these amounts are possessed for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Possession of marijuana has and continues to be in violation of federal drug laws. During the presidency of Barack Obama, however, apprehension and prosecution of individuals in possession of small amounts of marijuana was not prioritized. This could have led some to conclude that the federal government had decriminalized marijuana possession when, in fact, the federal government was simply declining to prosecute as many cases.
With Trump’s announcement that his administration will prosecute those in possession of marijuana in violation of federal law, those who use or possess marijuana are in a state of legal confusion:
- If the individual is apprehended by federal authorities, he or she may face federal drug charges regardless of whether the possession or use of marijuana was legal in the state in which the person is arrested;
- If the individual is apprehended by state authorities in a state that does not permit the possession or use of medicinal or recreational marijuana, the individual may face state drug charges even if he or she normally resides in a state that does permit such possession or use;
- If the individual is apprehended by state authorities in a state that does permit the possession or use of medicinal or recreational marijuana, it is unlikely the individual will face any criminal charges – even if he or she normally resides in a state that does not permit the possession or use of marijuana.
Seek Assistance from an Experienced Harris County Defense Attorney
If you find yourself charged with driving while intoxicated based upon allegations that you were under the influence of marijuana in Harris County, you should recognize that these are serious charges that demand a vigorous defense. Speak with a knowledgeable Texas driving while drugged defense attorney today about the defenses that may be available to you. The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates is here to assist you. Contact one of our three offices (Houston, Galveston, or League City) today to discuss your drug charges with us.