First, as a former Texas prosecutor I want to apologize to every person who has been charged or arrested for marijuana possession. Our State’s cannabis laws are immoral, unjust, and antithetic to our country’s heritage of freedom and individual liberty. As a proud member of the NORML legal committee I am leading the fight to legalize marijuana in Texas. Until our State embraces reform, good people will continue to have their lives ruined for possessing a plant. It's my duty to protect you from our State's cannabis conviction machine. I am proud to fight for Texas' marijuana consumers.What are the laws on marijuana possession in Texas?
Texas has some of the worst marijuana laws in the country. Possession of any “usable quantity” is a crime. Worse, our State offers no protection for medical cannabis patients. I have seen the government prosecute the sick and infirm for possessing medicinal cannabis. It is a subhuman practice that degrades our criminal justice system. In Texas, all possession and use it outlawed.What is the Texas definition of marijuana?
The short answer is Cannabis Sativa L. The long answer is on this blog post I wrote on the topic. Texas Definition for Marijuana
Here are the punishment ranges for marijuana possession.
Usable quantity – 2oz
2oz – 4oz
4oz to 5lbs
5lbs to 50lbs
50lbs to 2,000lbs
More than 2,000 lbs
Up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of $2,000.
Up to 365 days in the county jail and a fine of $4,000
6 months to two years in State Jail, and a fine of up to $10,000
2-10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections, and a fine up to $10,000
2-20 years In the Texas Department of Corrections and a fine up to $10,000
5-99 year in the Texas Department of Corrections, and a fine up to $10,000
The idea that any person should be locked up in prison for plant possession disgusts me. I believe that a lie can only be told so long before the people demand change. Someday, hopefully within my lifetime, we will see the marijuana market regulated like alcohol, where responsible adults can consume cannabis without the fear of being locked in a government cage. Until then, you need a principled experienced defense lawyer, someone who doesn't judge you for choosing a non-toxic plant for medicinal or recreational purposes. I would be proud to fight for you.What’s a “usable quantity”?
Texas case law has defined usable quantity as "an amount sufficient to be applied to the use commonly made thereof." Moore v. State, 562 S.W.2d 226, 228 (Tex.Crim.App. 1977), quoting Pelham v. State, 164 Tex.Crim. 226, 298 S.W.2d 171, 173 (Tex.Crim.App. 1957). Marijuana is commonly used in cigarettes or pipes, for smoking. See Lejeune v. State, 538 S.W.2d 775, 780 (Tex.Crim.App. 1976).” Basically enough to put in your pipe and get high on. How much is that exactly? Good question, but the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you had a usable quantity. That presents some opportunity for an experienced defense lawyer. I used that defense in a trial last year and got a not guilty verdict (disclaimer: every case is different).