Marijuana Use and Possession

Marijuana (cannabis) and its chemical variants are the most widespread and heavily used of the regulated drugs. The American states and the federal government have developed highly variable and inconsistent legal regulations concerning marijuana.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act is the most comprehensive regulatory drug control provision in Texas. It covers marijuana and many other substances, and closely determines the scope and circumstances under which regulated drugs and medications may be possessed, manufactured and prescribed. The Act does not cover some resins, plant stalks and stalk fibers, and oils and cakes made from plant seeds.

The Texas Controlled Substances Act is complicated and interpreting it is best left to a Sugar Land criminal defense lawyer. The Act is also frequently amended, so versions which are not current may have obsolete or inoperative provisions.

In addition, federal law also regulates marijuana possession, use, sale and related activities. Generally, the court which prosecutes a violation (state or federal) will follow the law of that tribunal.

There are numerous defenses to charges of illegal marijuana possession. The standards for arrest and conviction of an individual for possessing and driving under the influence of marijuana, closely parallel the legal provisions regulating the prosecution of alcohol-related offenses. Many of the prosecutions for illegal use of controlled substances arise from driving situations.

In Texas, sobriety checkpoints generally are not permitted. However, the refusal of a driver, stopped for erratic operation of a motor vehicle to provide a specimen of breath or blood may be introduced into evidence at a trial for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Penalties for possession of marijuana in Texas vary from a fine of $2,000 and incarceration for 180 days for possession of 2 oz. or less, to imprisonment for 5-99 years and a fine of $50,000 for possession of more than 2,000 lbs. Conviction for sale of marijuana also varies according to the amount involved in the transaction. Texas separately recognizes a "gift" of marijuana as a criminal offense. Possession of "marijuana paraphernalia" is separately penalized.

There has been some relaxation in Texas in the penalties for possession of marijuana. An individual with no prior felony convictions may not be imprisoned for possession of less than one pound of marijuana, but mandatory drug treatment is ordinarily required; the court has the discretion to waive the treatment requirement if no appropriate facility is available.

If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, contact Sugar Land criminal defense lawyer John L. Venza, Jr. at (281) 971-5660.

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