Marijuana Law in Texas: Has Anything Changed?

Dozens of shops selling cannabidiol (CBD) oil are popping up all over Texas, but that doesn’t mean it’s legal just yet. The Lone Star State, like so many others throughout the country, is considering changing its stance on marijuana. In fact, there are currently several bills being debated in the Texas Legislature. Until one is formally passed, though, any form of marijuana, CBD oil, or THC is still illegal for the majority of Texans.

Current Status of Marijuana in Texas

The fact that so many shops are openly selling CBD oil and other marijuana-related products is one reason so many in Texas are confused about the drug’s status in the state. Another reason is that so many surrounding states are beginning to legalize the drug in some form.

Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma have all legalized medical marijuana, with some legislators in those states pushing for further legalization. In early March, New Mexico passed a bill to fully legalize the drug for any adult over the age of 21. Doesn’t it make sense that Texas would also legalize CBD and other marijuana products?

Legislators don’t think so. In Texas, legalization is a long way away, if it ever happens at all. The current law states that a charge of possession is a Class B misdemeanor if the amount is less than two ounces. Even this minor marijuana charge carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. CBD oil with any trace of THC is considered a Felony in Texas and carries a range of punishment up to 20 years in prison (depending on the weight of the substance).

The only individuals allowed any access at all to any marijuana products are those with intractable epilepsy. This was passed into law with Texas’ Compassionate Use Act in 2015. Anyone else found with marijuana or CBD on their person is subject to charges. The April issue of Fort Worth Magazine, writer Jonathan Richardson discusses the legal issues of CBD in our community. District Attorney, Sharen Wilson, is quoted in the article stating that CBD oil is only legal in Texas to those who are prescribed and being treated by a physician for epilepsy. This means that if you are currently using CBD oil that contains THC, you are at risk for being arrested for a felony!

However, while Texas has always taken a strong stance against marijuana, that too could change in the near future.

Decriminalizing Marijuana in Texas

It was in early March of 2019 that legislators debated House Bill 63, which would decriminalize marijuana possession in Texas. Lawmakers in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee eventually approved the bill, leaving decriminalization to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in the Senate. While this does provide some hope for those who would like to relax the marijuana laws in the state, others are doubtful it will go much further. (See also, HB 186 & HB 551).

This is the third time a law like this has passed the House, but one has never gotten past the Senate. In 2017, it took a decriminalization bill one month longer than the current proposed bill to pass the House. Once it did, it remained one of several bills that were never voted on.

This, in addition to the fact that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has stated he does not wish to see the weakening of any marijuana laws in the state, makes it fairly clear that marijuana will remain illegal and criminal in the state of Texas. The Hemp Industries Association stated in a February interview with NBC5 that they plan to push for changes in Texas this year.

Need Help with a Marijuana Charge? A Texas Drug Lawyer Can Help

With legislators continuing to debate the laws on marijuana in Texas, it’s no wonder people are confused. Unfortunately for some, that confusion can lead to charges. When this is the case, a board-certified Texas criminal defense lawyer can help.

If you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense, contact us today to learn how we can help. We will fight for your rights and create a solid defense to help you beat the charges and retain your freedom. No one should ever face these charges alone. The stakes are simply too high. Call us today so we can begin reviewing your case.