In: Criminal Defense

Texas Could Expand the Legal Use of Marijuana in 2021

Texas could expand its medical marijuana programs during the 2021 legislative session. Texas lawmakers are confident that expanding state laws on marijuana could help improve the economy, according to ABC13.

Texas enacted the Compassionate Use Act back in 2015 to legalize medical marijuana for people with qualifying conditions. But lawmakers suggest expanding the medical marijuana law because only a small number of people have access to the current programs.

What are the Benefits of Expanding the Legality of Marijuana?

Those who advocate for expanding the legality of marijuana during this legislative session argue that doing so would:

  • Reduce the number of people addicted to illegal substances;
  • Reduce crime rates in Texas; and
  • Improve the state’s agriculture system and the economy as a whole.

Sen. Jose Menendez (D) from District 26 told ABC13 that the lack of access to the legal use of marijuana in Texas is “hurting good people” who would rather smoke or use cannabis than any addictive drugs and narcotics.

Who is Eligible to Use Medical Marijuana in Texas in 2021?

Current programs under the Compassionate Use Act list the following medical conditions that are eligible to use medical marijuana:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Terminal cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lou Gherig’s disease
  • Autism
  • Many Seizure Disorders

Currently, only some 3,500 Texan residents are registered with the state to use medical marijuana. Supporters of expanding the legal use of marijuana say that nearly 2 million people are eligible to use medical marijuana in Texas.

Possession of Recreational Marijuana is Still Illegal in Texas

Despite Texas lawmakers’ efforts to expand the legal use of marijuana, possession of recreational marijuana is still a crime that carries harsh penalties.

The penalties for possession of marijuana in Texas depend on the amount of cannabis and the intended purpose of the possession. Common forms of punishment for a possession of marijuana conviction in Texas are:

  • Fines
  • Incarceration (jail or prison sentences for adults and sentence in a juvenile facility for minors)
  • Treatment for addiction

Typically, having smaller amounts with the intent to use or smoke marijuana personally will result in lesser penalties than having large amounts of marijuana intended to sell and distribute to others.

What are the Defenses to Possession of Marijuana Charges in Texas?

The most suitable defense to a possession of marijuana charge will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including:

  • The amount of marijuana in your possession, was it usable;
  • The intended use of cannabis
  • The circumstances of your arrest
  • Whether the police had a search warrant
  • Your criminal history

Some of the most common defenses to possession of marijuana charges in Texas include:

  • Illegal searches and seizures. An experienced drug possession defense lawyer in Texas could help suppress the evidence against you if the police violated your constitutional rights when conducting searches and seizures.
  • Invalid search warrant or lack thereof. If the police used an invalid search warrant to find marijuana or other drugs in your possession, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney would challenge any evidence obtained by the police pursuant to that warrant.
  • You did not possess marijuana. In some cases, it is possible to defend yourself against a possession of marijuana charge by arguing that you did not actually possess the drug.

For more information about the potential defenses to possession of marijuana charges in Texas, contact our Frisco drug possession attorney at the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC. Call (940) 222-2488 to schedule a consultation.