Understanding marijuana laws in Texas

| Nov 7, 2017 |

Attitudes and laws about marijuana are quickly changing across the country, and Texas is no exception. You may have heard about the state implementing a new medical marijuana law, or local communities being softer on petty offenses. Perhaps you even came from nearby states such as Colorado or California that legalized recreational use. 

With all these different and changing laws, it can be confusing to figure out what exactly will happen to you if you get caught possessing marijuana. Read below for help understanding how Texas treats these drug offenses. 

Medical marijuana is limited

Texas took the nation by surprise when it passed a medical marijuana law in 2015. However, the law does not benefit very many patients. The law requires two separate doctors to agree that medical marijuana is beneficial for a patient. Plus, the prescribed cannabis-based medicines only have a considerably low concentration of THC. Even then, dispensaries have yet to open up. Medical marijuana dispensaries will not be open until late 2017 or early 2018. 

State inaction on recreational use

There was a lot of momentum during the legislative year of 2017 to move towards recreational legalization. However, the state failed to make any improvements to marijuana laws. The Texas Legislature was far more focused on hot-button issues such as bathroom bills and sanctuary cities. State laws remain harsh. 

Cities go their own way

Despite the lack of results from the state level, cities have begun making progress. According to a report by the Texas Observer, marijuana reform is taking place in local cities and counties. For example, certain areas, such as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Harris County, have either enacted policies to reduce marijuana penalties or refuse to charge people with small amounts of the substance. 

This means the consequences for you possessing a small amount of marijuana depends on where you live in the state. You could face harsh penalties under state law.