Reforms to TX Marijuana & THC Possession Laws DIED in 2021 – POSSESSION OF THC REMAINS A FELONY IN TEXAS

A bill almost became a law in Texas, reducing the penalties for marijuana and THC possession – Texas House Bill 2593. That’s right, Texas came closer than it ever has to decriminalizing possession of less than one ounce of marijuana; the new law would have made posssession of less than 28 grams a class C Misdemeanor (and a crime for which you could not be arrested).

More importantly, in my opinion, it would have changed the law on possession of THC concentrate to mirror that of possession of the plant itself, and make possession of up to two ounces (56 grams) of THC concentrate a class B Misdemeanor (punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine). Currently, possession of that amount of THC concentrate could get you up to 20 years in prison! SO WHAT HAPPPENED AND HOW DID WE GET HERE!?

As I more thoroughly explain below – basically, the law finally had enough support in the Texas legislature to pass in the Texas House of Representatives. The law then went to the Senate, and the changes to the penalties were agreed upon (shockingly), but the Senate version was modified by Lt Governor Dan Patrick and other Senate Republicans to add to the definition of a controlled Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Delta 8 THC”). For those that are unfamiliar, Delta 8 THC is a mild psychotropic extract of hemp or cannabis, that is currently legal for sale in Texas. When the bill went back to the House for final editing and conference, Texas house member Joe Moody struck the Delta-8 addition to the definition of a controlled substance. This infuriated Dan Patrick, who refused to let the measure get a final vote in the Senate before it went to the governors desk, and the leigslative session expired. Womp-womp-womp.

So for at least 2 more years, the laws relating to marijuana and THC possession remain the same. The only way something could change sooner would be a change in the Federal law.

History of TX Marijuana & THC concentrate (wax, dabs, shatter, etc) Laws

The Texas Controlled Substance Act was passed in 1989, and established what is the framework still used today for determining the legality of possessing certain plants, drugs, and controlled substances in Texas. This is codified in Section 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

In Texas, possession of THC concentrates differently, baed on the erroneous conclusuion that the concentrated substance was more dangerous and addictive. Take a look at other controlled substances in the same penalty group as THC concentrate, and you will find substances like MDMA (3,4-Methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine).  No one will dispute that THC is a lot different than molly, but both are treated the same under the Texas Health and Safety Code. Even if we disagree on the legality of marijuana and THC, I think all of us should agree that taking mdma.

Possession of Marijuana

Under the current version of the code, possession of Marijuana (called ‘Marihuana’ in the code) has the following potential punishments for possession of a ‘usable amount,’ of marijuana:

  • 2 ounces or less: Class B Misdemeanor (Up to 6 months in jail, up to $2,000 fine).
  • 4 ounces or less but more than 2 ounces: Class A misdemeanor (Up to 1-year in jail, up to $4,000 fine).
  • 5 pounds or less but more than 4 ounces:  State Jail Felony (6 months – 2 Yrs in state jail, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 50 pounds or less but more than 5 pounds: 3rd Degree Felony.
  • 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds: 2nd Degree Felony.*
  • More than 2,000 pounds: 5 to 99 years, or life, and a fine up to $50,000.

Possession of THC Concentrate

Unbelievably, they treat the concentrated form of cannabis much differently in Texas. Possession of any detectable amount of a substance that is made from Marijuana that has over 0.3% THC by weight is a FELONY in Texas!

Possession of THC Concentrate has the following criminal consequences in Texas:

  • Less than one gram: State Jail Felony (6 months – 2 Yrs in state jail, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 1 to 4 grams: 3rd Degree Felony (2 – 10 Yrs in TDCJ, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 4 to 400 grams: 2nd Degree Felony (2 – 20 Yrs in TDCJ, and a fine up to $10,000) 
  • More than 400 grams: 1st Degree Felony (5 to 99 yrs or life in TDCJ, and a fine not to exceed $50,000)

HOW THE CHANGES IN TX CANNABIS LAW DIED IN THE 2021 LEGISLATIVE TERM

House Bill 2593 was introduced by House Speaker Pro Tem Joe Moody. It was sponsored by Senator Nathan Johnson. Again, it would have reduced the penalty for possession of less than 2oz of substances derived from cannabis (concentrates like oils, vapes, edibles, infused products, etc) from a felony (according to the amount, as shown in the table above) to a Class B Misdemeanor. As you can see from the table of Marijuana penalties above, this bill would make these concentrate containing substances to be treated how we currently treat Marijuana flower. It would cover vape cartridges, pens, tinctures, or infused lotions as well.

The bill passed in the Texas House, and moved to the Senate. As passed out of the House and Senate State Affairs Committee HB 2593 had strong support for being passed. However, Senate Republicans led by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick added an amendmet during the floor debate which would have added Delta-8 THC to Penalty Group 2 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, just like Delta-9 THC (effectively making what is now an unregulated market, summarily illegal to sell or possess the substance). Because there was different versions from both chambers, House Speaker Joe Moody decided took the Bill to a Conference Committee to resolve the discrepencies between the two versions. 

Speaker Moody was successful in getting the problematic amendment removed during the Conference Committee – with the consequence of angering Senate Republicans and Dan Patrick, who felt they had compromised to pass a Marijuana law reform bill they had resisted passing for so many years. So the conference report was approved by the House, but in retaliation for striking the Delta-8 language from the Senate version of the Bill, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick chose inaction, refusing to recognize the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nathan Johnson. Due to the HB 2593 being unable to present the Conference Committee Report before the expiration of the legislative term, the bill died.

How did this get in here? 😉

Yes, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is a bastard for doing this – but did Speaker Moody not also get a little too greedy? Progress is slow, had he accepted the compromise relating to Delta-8 THC, then Delta 9 would not be a Felony for another 2 years! So listen, we made progress on reforming Marijuana laws this session, but I think we missed an opportunity by lacking the finesse to get the important legislation passed.

ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA or MARIJUANA CONCENTRATE (THC)?

Call LeGrande Law today to find out your options!

If accused of any drug offense, including Possession of THC Concentrate, you need an attorney that has a track record of winning drug cases.  Attorney Tristan LeGrande gets results – CALL NOW – FREE Consultation!

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Tristan LeGrande – LeGrande Law

(Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 2, PCS PG2)

THC VAPING: FACTS & FICTION

There has been a lot in the news recently about lung diseases associated with vaping products. Much of the news coverage has identified “illicit THC” vaping products as being the main culprit – but how much of this news coverage is truth, based on facts, and how much of the media coverage is fear-mongering and misinformation? This blog-post will attempt to put inform the public about some of the facts about THC vapes, and dispel some of the fiction that has been disseminated by the news media.

FACT: LUNG DISEASES HAVE DEVELOPED IN PEOPLE AFTER VAPING PRODUCTS THAT CONTAINED THC.

In a press release from October 8, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), informed the following regarding the outbreak of vape associated lung diseases:

  • 1,299 cases of lung disease associated with some type of vaping
  • Twenty-six deaths have been reported in 21 states in the US
  • Most patients reported a history of using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products. The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources. (e.g. friends, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.
  • Exclusive use of nicotine containing products has been reported by some patients with lung injury cases, and many patients with lung injury report combined use of THC- and nicotine-containing products. The possibility that nicotine-containing products play a role in this outbreak cannot be excluded.

FICTION: VAPING THC IS A CAUSE OF LUNG DISEASES

As with all illicit drugs, they are not regulated. Because they are not regulated, some of the vaping products that are being sold on the black market contain additives and flavorings that are linked to lung diseases. HOWEVER, the THC itself is NOT the cause of the outbreak of lung diseases!
It’s not clear how often vaping might lead to lung trouble or who is at highest risk. For example, are lung problems more common among vapers who already have breathing problems (such as asthma) or who use marijuana? Is it more common among younger individuals? Does use of e-cigarettes cause the lung disease? Or is an added substance (such as marijuana) or another contaminant the culprit? Since the FDA does not actively regulate e-cigarettes, it’s particularly difficult to get answers.

FACT: MORE CASES OF LUNG DISEASE HAVE DEVELOPED IN THOSE VAPING ILLICITLY MANUFACTURED THC

Most of those that have been diagnoses with a vaping related lung illness reported a history of vaping (THC)-containing vaping products. This has been reported in numerous stories in the media (albeit in a misleading way).

FICTION: VAPING LEGAL THC CONTAINING VAPING PRODUCTS IS DANGEROUS

There has not been a single reported vape related illness from the use of legally obtained THC containing vaping products. I challenge anyone to come forward with information about a vaping related illness where someone never consumed an illicit THC containing product (and I will happily change my position).

BEFORE YOU PLEAD GUILTY TO POSSESSION OF THC…

Call LeGrande Law for a FREE consultation

If accused of a drug crime, including Possession of Marijuana or Cannabis Oil (THC), you need an attorney with proven results, winning cases.  Attorney Tristan LeGrande gets results – CALL NOW for a Free Consultation!

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande

281-684-3500



Fort Bend County begins Cannabis Oil Diversion Program!

It finally happened, Fort Bend County, Texas has taken the bold step of offering those found in possession of THC concentrate (wax, dabs, shatter, Tetrahydrocannibinol) the opportunity to avoid a felony on your record, and allow you to get your case dismissed. In the last several months, Fort Bend County rolled out the “Felony Fresh Start Cannabis Oil Diversion Program.” Details about the program can be found below.

For several years, counties like Harris County have been offering those found in the possession of small amounts of marijuana an opportunity to keep charges off their record, if they are found by law enforcement to be in possession of small amounts of Marijuana. Harris County residents can be found in possession of up to a quarter of a pound of marijuana (up to four ounces), and you are not even arrested or charged (so long as you are not accused of doing anything else wrong more than a traffic offense).

CLICK HERE to review additional info from the Harris County District Attorney website about the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program. 

The Fort Bend County Fresh Start Cannabis Oil Diversion Program does have certain criteria that he or she must meet in order to be eligible for the program:

  • Be 17 years of age or older
  • Formally charged with Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 2 (Tetrahydrocannibinol), 400 grams or less (State Jail Felony3rd Degree Felony, or 2nd Degree Felony
  • Has no additional charges arising out of the same arrest other than Class B possession of Marijuana, or Class C tickets
  • Has no outstanding warrants other than Class C Misdemeanor tickets
  • Is not on bond, deferred adjudication or probation in Fort Bend County or any other jurisdiction for any offense other than a Class C Misdemeanor.

A person is not eligible to participate in the Cannabis oil diversion program if he or she:

  • Is a “true habitual,” or has a criminally violent background
  • Commits the current offense in a “drug free zone”
  • Commits the current offense in a correctional facility
  • Does not enter the Cannabis Oil Diversion Program within the first 30 days of their first court appearance (unless the program was not in place at that time)
  • Is not currently enrolled in the Fort Bend County Fresh Start Marijuana Diversion Program, the cannabis oil diversion program, or has been previously enrolled in either program.

Additionally, applicants to this program are required to submit an application packet containing Character reference letters, and proof of employment or enrollment in a school or university. The requirements for submission of this packet vary case by case. Please contact a criminal defense attorney with experience practicing in Fort Bend County for additional details about submission of the application packet.

So then why would you hire an attorney?

  1. Not everyone is eligible,
  2. There are new defenses available to Defendants now that hemp, hemp oil, and CBD oil are legalized. State owned laboratories do not currently have the ability to distinguish between the three because very small amounts of THC are contained in all three, and the labs can only detect the presence, not the quantity, of THC in the sample.
  3. You still may be able to fight your case. If the stop or search of your person or property was illegal, you may be able to get your case dismissed, or evidence suppressed at trial.

***UPDATE *** making information public about the cannabis oil diversion program has brought attorney Tristan LeGrande significant blow-back from the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, and even from fellow criminal defense attorney’s that practice in Fort Bend County (unhappy because this knowledge means fewer clients for some of them). Sorry, not sorry. The public DESERVES to know how TREATMENT OF THESE TYPES OF OFFENSES IS CHANGING!

CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF THC (wax, dabs)?

If you are accused of any drug crime, including Possession of THC Concentrate, you need an attorney with a track record of winning drug cases.  Attorney Tristan LeGrande gets results – CALL NOW for a Free Consultation!

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500

http://www.legrandelaw.com
http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Tristan LeGrande – LeGrande Law

(Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 2, PCS PG2)

Possession of Marijuana Concentrate (THC extract, wax, dabs) Is a Felony in Texas

 

POSSESSION OF
THC CONCENTRATE
IS A FELONY IN TEXAS

Possession of any detectable amount of Tetrahydrocannibinol (“THC”), also known as wax, dabs, shatter, marijuana concentrate is a Felony in Texas.

EVEN possession of less than a gram of THC concentrate, is a State Jail Felony – 6 months to 2 years in a Texas State Jail facility, and a $10,000 fine.


HOW DID POSSESSION OF THC BECOME A FELONY IN TEXAS?

The Texas legislature made the erroneous decision to treat concentrated THC different than flower Marijuana, and designated THC concentrate a felony under TX law [Penalty group 2 of Section 481 of the Texas Health and Safety Code].  Review other controlled substances in this penalty group, and you find substances like MDMA (3,4-Methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine).  No one will dispute that THC is a lot different than molly, but both are treated the same in the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Many find it amazing that marijuana concentrate possession is a felony in Texas because possession of up to a quarter of a pound of marijuana (up to four ounces) is a Misdemeanor. In some Counties, like Harris County, If you are found in possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana, you do not get arrested or charged (so long as you are not accused of doing anything else wrong more than a traffic offense).

Inevitably Marijuana will be legalized nationwide. However, don’t get caught with THC concentrate in Texas or you are facing the following Felony consequences…

Possession of THC Concentrate:

  • Less than one gram: State Jail Felony (6 months – 2 Yrs in state jail, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 1 to 4 grams: 3rd Degree Felony (2 – 10 Yrs in TDCJ, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 4 to 400 grams: 2nd Degree Felony (2 – 20 Yrs in TDCJ, and a fine up to $10,000) 
  • More than 400 grams: 1st Degree Felony (5 to 99 yrs or life in TDCJ, and a fine not to exceed $50,000)

If charged with possession with intent to manufacture or deliver THC concentrate:

  • Less than one gram: State Jail Felony (6 months – 2 Yrs in state jail, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 1 to 4 grams: 2nd  Degree Felony (2 – 20 Yrs in TDCJ, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • 4 to 400 grams: 1st Degree Felony (5 – 99 Yrs in TDCJ, and a fine up to $10,000)
  • More than 400 grams: 10 to 99 yrs or life in TDCJ, and a fine not to exceed $100,000 

Now for the good news: Marijuana concentrate cases are unique among controlled substance offenses.  THC Concentrate are treated differently by District Attorney’s around the state – do not be misled into believing you will be imprisoned for decades over half an ounce of THC concentrate (even if the punishment range for that offense authorizes it). 

DO NOT TAKE A DEAL until you consult with an attorney familiar with DEFENDING & WINNING THC concentrate cases.

If a traffic stop is illegal, or if the search of your person or property is illegal, LeGrande Law may be able to suppress the evidence at trial.  Also, many counties have diversion programs for these types of offenses.

ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA CONCENTRATE (THC)?

Call LeGrande Law today to find out your options!

If accused of any drug offense, including Possession of THC Concentrate, you need an attorney that has a track record of winning drug cases.  Attorney Tristan LeGrande gets results – CALL NOW – FREE Consultation!

Contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500

CLIENT REVIEWS OF LEGRANDE LAW

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LeGrande Law | Top 40 under 40 in Criminal Defense | AVVO 10.0 | Martindale-Nolo | Lawyers.com | Justia

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Tristan LeGrande – LeGrande Law

(Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 2, PCS PG2)