Understanding Texas marijuana laws

In most of Texas, marijuana possession carries significant fines and even jail time. While other states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, only a few Texas jurisdictions have decriminalized possession of small amounts of the substance.

Protect yourself from these charges by understanding the laws and penalties that apply to cannabis in Texas.

Counties and cities with decriminalization

Several Texas municipalities cite and release citizens caught with small amounts of cannabis. Decriminalization laws apply to individuals with less than 2 ounces of marijuana in Cedar Park, Hayes County, Travis County and Williamson County. The maximum threshold is 4 ounces in Bexar County, Dallas, Harris County and Nueces County.

Possession penalties in other counties

If an officer arrests you for possession of less than 2 ounces of cannabis in a county without decriminalization, you will receive a Class B misdemeanor charge. This carries a six-month license suspension, up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. For 2 to 4 ounces, penalties increase to a year in jail and up to $10,000 fine.

Extenuating circumstances also impact your sentence. Texas enforces increased penalties for possession of cannabis concentrate oil rather than dry flower. If you possess unexplained cash reserves, drug paraphernalia or packaging that indicates intent to distribute, you could receive a charge of trafficking rather than possession.

Mandatory minimum sentences

Possession of at least 5 pounds of marijuana carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in jail, which increases to five years for 2,000 pounds of cannabis or more. However, individuals without previous drug convictions can enroll in a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time in certain counties.

You may also be able to negotiate a lesser sentence if you have no previous convictions. Legal advice can help you plan the best course of action when facing a marijuana charge in Texas.