Proposed Texas Bills Would Lessen Marijuana Possession Charges
In recent years, lawmakers in several states have begun reducing the criminal penalties for marijuana possession in their respective states – especially in circumstances when the possession of marijuana is in accordance treating certain medical conditions.
Mirroring these national trends are two bills that have been introduced this year in the Texas legislature that, if passed, will ease state restrictions and reduce penalties for many of those accused of marijuana possession in Texas.
The first of these Texas bills, House Bill 594, would create a defense for marijuana possession in medical cases. Specifically the bill, if passed, would allow an accused to get marijuana possession charges dismissed if he or she could prove that a licensed physician recommended the marijuana to treat an actual medical condition.
Furthermore, the bill would protect physicians from criminal investigations or disciplinary proceedings for simply informing a patient that the benefits of marijuana use may outweigh the health risks in that particular patient’s circumstances.
The second bill, known as Texas House Bill 184, would make the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor. If passed, the change would mean those facing charges under the proposed sections would only face a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time.
penalties for marijuana possession in texas
The penalties in Texas for marijuana possession rely heavily upon the amount of marijuana in question. For instance, it is a felony in Texas if a person possesses more than four ounces of marijuana.
Also, it is a Class A misdemeanor to be in possession of more than two ounces of marijuana, as long as it is also four ounces or less. In Texas, those convicted of a Class A misdemeanor face a maximum fine of $4,000 and up to one year in jail.
Lastly, those accused of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana may be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor – with a possible maximum fine of $2,000 and 180 days in jail. However, if the recently proposed bill discussed earlier is passed, many of those that fall under this current penalty would no longer face jail time if they were only in possession of one ounce of marijuana or less.
It is important to note that even if Texas reduces the criminal penalties for state marijuana possession charges, it does not impact the potential federal charges that may stem from similar conduct – which can make things very complicated. Accordingly, it is often best to speak with an experienced drug possession defense attorney if facing marijuana possession charges. A knowledgeable attorney can help evaluate your case and assist in developing your best defense.