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The Major Differences Between Texas and Federal Marijuana Laws

July 13, 2022

Across the U.S., cannabis laws are changing rapidly. While possessing cannabis was once illegal under federal law and the law of all 50 states, times have changed. Now, recreational cannabis use is legal in 19 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam. Additionally, 37 states, D.C., and three U.S. territories have all made medical marijuana use legal. With all the publicity about legalizing pot, it can be hard to know what’s legal under federal and Texas law.

Federal Marijuana Laws

Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Schedule I substances are those with a “high potential for abuse,” no accepted medical use, and no accepted safety standards for use when supervised by a physician. While legislators have made many attempts to update our federal drug laws concerning marijuana, they have not met with much success. 

Under federal law, the first conviction for simple possession of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second conviction is a felony, punishable by a mandatory 15-day jail sentence. But you can face up to two years in jail and a $2,500 fine. Federal law also allows a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for possession of marijuana for personal use. While federal prosecutors tend to reserve their resources for higher-stakes drug trafficking, it is possible to face federal marijuana charges, which can be a serious matter. If you’re facing federal marijuana charges, you’ll need an experienced defense attorney like The Law Office of Kenneth W Mullen PC.

Texas Marijuana Laws

Texas law also does not permit recreational cannabis use. THC use is allowed as part of the state’s “compassionate use” law, which allows “low-THC cannabis” for certain medical conditions like epilepsy, seizures, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, cancer, autism, PTSD, and incurable neurological disorders. 

Texas laws for simple possession of marijuana are similar to federal law. Possessing two ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Possessing more than two but less than four ounces is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

However, Texas recently changed its marijuana laws to classify hemp differently from marijuana, bringing state law more in line with federal law. Hemp is the same plant species as cannabis but contains lower levels of THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. It is legal under federal and Texas law to sell hemp and hemp products containing less than .03% of THC, including smokable hemp. Because it can be challenging to test the amount of THC in hemp or CBD products, marijuana prosecutions in Texas have dropped significantly,

Hire an Experienced Texas Criminal Attorney

If you’re facing drug charges in the Weatherford area, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side for the best possible outcome. Attorney Kenneth Mullen is a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney with many years of experience protecting the rights of his clients in the criminal justice system. Give The Law Office of Kenneth W Mullen PC a call at 817-406-9596 or contact us online.