FIREARM SUPPRESSORS ARE NOW LEGAL IN TEXAS

True story – with the caveat that firearm sound suppressors (silencers) remain illegal under Federal law. This is similar to how marijuana remains Federally illegal, but many states have laws permitting the use or sale of marijuana. Texas set up laws that went into effect in 2021 that not only legalized sound suppressing devices under Texas law, but laws were enacted to prevent Federal enforcement of laws against firearm sound suppressing devices (or as the Feds call them “firearm mufflers”).

So, what is a firearm sound suppressor (sometimes referred to as “silencers,” even though none can completely silence the sound of a bullet firing from a weapon)?

Weapon Suppressors – What are they?

It is usually a cylindrical object that attaches to the end of a barrel, usually by threads on the barrel that screws onto cylinder, with the intended purpose of lowering decibel levels created when the weapon is fired. Weapon suppressors don’t actually silence a gun shot. But they do lower, or muffle, the noise enough that the sound is not as easily heard, and does not risk damaging the ears due to excessive sound levels. The typical reduction from such a device is between 30 to 40 db. A typical gunshot ranges between 140 and 165 db. So none of the devices really “silence” a gunshot. At best, they muffle the sound to the level of something like an electric drill or table saw used for cutting lumber.

Texas Laws Created to Protect your Ability to Own a Firearm Suppressor

On June 17, 2021 several pieces of legislation related to firearm suppressors/silencers was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, one of which was House Bill 957 (HB 957).

House Bill 957 repealed the criminal statute which made it a criminal offense to possess, manufacture, transport, or repair a firearm silencer. Laws were also passed that essentially state that any firearm suppressor manufactured in Texas, and that remains in Texas, will not be subject to federal law.

What HB 957 does is says that you cannot be prosecuted in Texas for owning a suppressor or silencer – but it DOES remain illegal under Federal law. That means it potentially COULD be prosecuted under Federal law. So to address this issue, additional laws were enacted to prevent Texas resources from being used to prosecute the Federal firearm laws prohibiting firearm silencers / suppressors (or as the Federal law calls it “firearm mufflers”).

HB 957 prevents Texas state resources from being allowed to enforce the Federal law prohibiting silencers, suppressors, or gun mufflers. If a State official aids enforcement of the Federal law, they could lose funding for their department!

Sec. 2.103. STATE GRANT FUNDS. (a) An entity described by Section 2.101 may not receive state grant funds if the entity adopts a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity enforces a federal law described by Section 2.102(a) or, by consistent action, allows the enforcement of a federal law described by Section 2.102(a).

(b) State grant funds for the entity shall be denied for the fiscal year following the year in which a final judicial determination in an action brought under this subchapter is made that the entity has violated Section 2.102(a).

Photo credit: https://www.atf.gov/file/99106

ADDRESSING THE COMMERCE CLAUSE

From HB 957:

Sec. 2.052. NOT SUBJECT TO FEDERAL REGULATION. (a) A firearm suppressor that is manufactured in this state and remains in this state is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

(b) A basic material from which a firearm suppressor is manufactured in this state, including unmachined steel, is not a firearm suppressor and is not subject to federal regulation under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce as if it actually were a firearm suppressor.

Sec. 2.053. MARKETING OF FIREARM SUPPRESSOR. A firearm suppressor manufactured and sold in this state must have the words “Made in Texas” clearly stamped on it.

Sec. 2.054. ATTORNEY GENERAL. On written notification to the attorney general by a United States citizen who resides in this state of the citizen’s intent to manufacture a firearm suppressor to which Section 2.052 applies, the attorney general shall seek a declaratory judgment from a federal district court in this state that Section 2.052 is consistent with the United States Constitution.

The law essentially states that if the materials used to make the suppressor / silencer / muffler are Texas-sourced raw, they are not subject to federal regulation under interstate commerce because nothing is leaving the state.

KNOW THE LAW BEFORE YOU CARRY A FIREARM

Every persons situation can be unique. If you have any question about whether or not you can legally carry a firearm, suppressor, silencer, or firearm muffler, PLEASE contact an attorney and make sure, BEFORE you decide to exercise your rights under the new Constitutional Carry law in Texas.

CHARGED WITH A WEAPON OFFENSE?

If you have been arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm or ANY gun crime, call LeGrande Law NOW! Gun and other Weapon crimes are prosecuted in Texas, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to fight for your freedom and make sure that justice is done.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Tristan LeGrande IMMEDIATELY 

281-684-3500

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande

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)

Is it Marijuana or Hemp? Houston Lab Can Now Tell the Difference

Many of you may know by now, that there have been recent changes in the law concerning what is defined as marijuana and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) under the Texas Health and Safety Code. I discussed these changes in the law in a recent blog post TX Hemp & Marijuana Law – New Laws for 2019 and If You are Charged w/ Possession of Marijuana or THC? DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY!

The new law states that any plant or substance derived from a plant, that has a THC concentration less than 0.3% is no longer defined as a controlled substance (or marijuana) for purposes of the Texas Health and Safety Code’s punishments for related offenses. When the law went into effect, none of the Texas crime labs that were used to test for the presence of controlled substances had the ability to test for the QUANTITY of THC. The only thing that they could test for was the PRESENCE of THC. The GC/MS laboratory analysis are very sensitive, and can detect even 1 mg of THC, however, they did not previously have the ability to distinguish between the two in the lab.

Many people have caught on – attorneys and even the unrepresented are going to Court and professing that they possessed hemp or hemp oil. THe result was that many cases were getting dismissed. Some counties stopped filing Marijuana and THC oil cases altogether. But bad news for those living in Houston – the Houston Forensic Science Center issued a press release on September 8, 2020 stating that THEIR LAB CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA.

The method launched Tuesday by HFSC’s seized drugs section can measure whether delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC,) the controlled substance in the cannabis plant that causes a “high,” is above or below 1 percent. This will allow the laboratory to differentiate illegal marijuana from legal hemp. However, the method is limited in scope since it will measure THC concentrations at 1 percent or more although the law defines any item with a THC concentration of more than 0.3 percent as a controlled substance. As a result, HFSC will require stakeholders to acknowledge the limitations of the testing in an end-user agreement. HFSC will also note those limitations on all final reports.

So there are two positive things about this press release. First, they STILL cannot differentiate between marijuana oil (THC oil, dabs, wax, etc) and hemp oil (CBD oil, etc). These are more serious charges, because they are a Felony. The lab can still not quantify the THC content of the oil. Second, the lab can only tell if the Marijuana flower has over 1% concentration. But to be honest, the days of there being no labs that can tell the difference between hemp products and marijuana products are numbered.

BEFORE YOU PLEAD GUILTY TO POSSESSION OF THC OR MARIJUANA…

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

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