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Texas Marijuana Laws

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated July 15, 2020

Last updated 11/1/2019

Attitudes about marijuana have been rapidly changing, but Texas goes its own way. Neighboring states have passed laws permitting medical use of marijuana, de-criminalizing petty offenses, and even legalizing the recreational use of the plant. Texas, by contrast, continues to punish marijuana offenses severely, although it did pass a very restrictive medical cannabis law allowing limited use of low-THC (the psychoactive component), high-CBD cannabis oil.

In Texas, possession of even a tiny amount of marijuana can land you in jail; in fact, anything less than 2 ounces carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. But penalties are even more serious for possessing concentrates such as hash oil, which is charged as a felony and can result in up to two years in state prison.

Learn more about Texas marijuana laws in the table below. See Details on State Marijuana Laws for more general information.

  • Under 2 oz.: Class B misdemeanor
  • 2-4 oz.: Class A misdemeanor
  • 4 oz. to 5 lbs.: State jail felony
  • 5-50 lbs.: 3rd degree felony
  • 50-2000 lbs.: 2nd degree felony
  • Over 2000 lbs.: Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice institution for life or 5-99 yrs. and $50,000

Some court districts in Texas have drug diversion programs that allow certain first-time offenders to complete a rehabilitation program instead of serving a prison sentence.

The sale of just 7 grams (roughly one-quarter ounce) of cannabis also carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a possible $2,000 fine. But selling more than 50 pounds of the herb (a felony) can land you in prison for 99 years, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Selling any amount of marijuana to a minor is a felony, with a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources:

Legal Help With Your Texas Marijuana Case

Although there’s a national trend toward de-criminalization and even legalization of marijuana in many states, Texas continues to punish the possession and use of the drug. If you’ve been charged under the marijuana laws of Texas, a conviction could affect your ability to find work, damage your reputation, and more. Protect your rights and your future by contacting a local Texas drug crimes attorney today.

Learn more about Texas marijuana laws, drug crimes, drug trafficking, criminal laws, and other legal issues at FindLaw.com.

Texas Marijuana Laws

Updated January 2020

Texas has had a flurry of progressive proposals when it comes to marijuana legislation. While only one bill — a limited low-THC medical cannabis law — passed, there are still significant steps for the state to take before it adequately provides its residents safe and legal access to cannabis. Texas lawmakers have, however, legalized the commercial production of hemp. Learn more about Texas marijuana laws below.

Recreational Marijuana Laws in Texas

Is marijuana legal in Texas? In short, no.

Currently, all possession of marijuana for recreational purposes in Texas is a crime. Those caught with up to 4 ounces of marijuana are charged with a misdemeanor and subject to fines up to $4,000 and a year in jail. Possessing more than 4 ounces is a felony, punishable by 180 days to up to 99 years and fines of $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the possession amount.

Over the past two years, Texas’ legislatures have introduced decriminalization bills, but none have yet to pass. In December 2016, state lawmakers have filed several new decriminalization bills that will be considered in the 2017 legislative session. Until then, Texas will continue to prosecute those possessing marijuana, including mandatory minimum sentences for those in possession of or attempting to sell large quantities of the drug.

Simple possession of marijuana has been essentially decriminalized in Harris County, the most popular county in Texas. District Attorney Kim Ogg, upon being sworn into office in January 2017, announced that she planned to decriminalize all simple possession of marijuana in Harris County. Even today, first-time offenders caught in possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana are no longer subject to prosecution. Ogg’s progressive law, which took effect on March 1, 2017, ensures that law enforcement agencies don’t arrest individuals caught with four ounces or less of marijuana. Rather, offenders have 90 days to complete a four-hour decision-making class, which will remove any charges.

The city of Austin also decriminalized marijuana. In January 2020, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to stop criminal penalties for low-level cannabis possession.

Medical Marijuana Laws in Texas

Despite some legislative support in the last session, no comprehensive medical marijuana policy has been enacted in the state. On June 1, 2015, Texas did pass a low THC cannabis oil bill. Qualified patients are required to first get prescriptions from two certified specialists, at which point they will be legally allowed to use cannabis oil with at most 0.5% THC.

While the low THC medical cannabis law has been put into effect, many are skeptical that the system cannot be successfully implemented as written. Because doctors are required to “prescribe” rather than “recommend” or “certify” patients, very few physicians are willing to do so because prescribing a Schedule I substance puts their DEA license to prescribe controlled substances at risk.

Initially, Texas’ medical marijuana law applied only to the treatment of intractable epilepsy. In June 2019, Gov. Greg Abbot signed into law House Bill 3703 to expand the program to more conditions.

Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana under Texas’ medical marijuana now include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Intractable Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Spasticity
  • Terminal Cancer

CBD (cannabidiol) from Hemp Oil in Texas

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.

Cultivation of Cannabis in Texas

The cultivation of marijuana for personal or medical use is illegal in Texas. In June 2019, however, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R) signed House Bill 1325 to legalize the commercial production of hemp and hemp-derived CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol. The new law was in response to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizes hemp at the federal level and allows states to pass policies permitting hemp production. The Texas Department of Agriculture will soon submit the rules and guidelines for hemp production in the state to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and it is expected that hemp production will start in Texas during the 2020 crop year.

Legal Status of Other U.S. States

Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.

Sources

  • https://www.mpp.org/states/texas/
  • http://norml.org/laws/item/texas-penalties-2
  • http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

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