Texas is located near several states with much more liberal drug policies, but the state itself is notorious for enforcing harsh laws. Even as cultural attitudes related to all kinds of drugs have changed, Texas policy has largely stayed the same. Legalization efforts and decriminalization have struggled to gain a toehold in Texas, despite spreading like wildfire in other parts of the country.
Those who are visiting Texas or moving to the Lone Star State from elsewhere may benefit from educating themselves about the ways in which Texas drug laws are different than the laws in many other states. These are two of the biggest differences between controlled substance laws in Texas and elsewhere. Understanding these differences can help individuals to protect themselves from being accused of wrongdoing.
Texas has enhanced fentanyl penalties
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that doctors often use to treat cancer patients and those with intractable pain. However, because it is so potent, fentanyl is also a major contributing factor to the overdose crisis and the massive increase in opioid addiction in recent years.
To fight back against this public safety challenge, Texas adopted harsher laws in 2021 specifically to increase the penalties for fentanyl offenses. Anyone accused of manufacturing or delivering between four and 200 grams of fentanyl will face a minimum of 10 years in prison. Other fentanyl charges also have increased penalties now under Texas law.
Texas does not have a cultivation statute
In many states, people face unique charges for marijuana cultivation. The penalties are often harsher than they would be for possession offenses. Texas certainly applies very harsh penalties to those accused of growing marijuana, but not because it has a cultivation law. Instead, police officers and prosecutors will treat marijuana grow operations like a possession offense.
Even a single plant in its wet state could weigh enough for the state to pursue felony charges against the person accused. After all, the threshold for felony marijuana possession is just four ounces in Texas. Someone with even a few plants could face years in jail and $10,000 in fines.
Learning about the unique drug laws in Texas can help to protect those who are at risk of Texas drug charges. When it comes to avoiding penalties for alleged wrongdoing, knowledge truly is power.