TX Crime Labs to Look the Other Way on Low-Level Marijuana Cases
Hemp-based products, such as CBD oil, are now legal to possess in Texas. In order to be legal, help products must have no more than 0.3 percent THC content, which is the component of cannabis that causes a high. However, there is one major issue with hemp legalization - it is impossible to tell whether something has less than 0.3 percent THC without using sophisticated testing methods.
The Department of Public Safety in Texas (DPS) has developed and funded a lab test that can distinguish between hemp products and marijuana. However, the DPS director recently announced that the Department does not plan on using the test for the following:
- Non-plant-based products, such as edibles or oils
- Misdemeanor-level marijuana possession cases
The director stated that DPS does not have enough funding or capacity to handle low-level cases, so they will not be testing these products for THC levels. This means that prosecutors cannot prove whether a substance is illegal marijuana or legalized hemp, so they will likely stop pursuing charges in these situations.
However, some law enforcement agencies have been utilizing private labs to test cannabis products for THC levels. These agencies will likely continue to do so, which allows them to prove a substance is marijuana even in misdemeanor cases. This could mean that an arrest in one county might result in criminal drug possession charges, while there might be no charges issued in a neighboring county. You should never assume that your marijuana case will not be pursued, and you should call a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney right away if you are arrested.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Marijuana Charges
Marijuana possession in Texas can be either a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the amount of the substance involved. The possible charges and penalties can be as follows:
- Four ounces or less = Misdemeanor charge, up to one year in jail, fines up to $4,000
- Four ounces to five pounds = Felony charge, up to two years in prison, fines up to $10,000
If you are accused of selling marijuana, the charges might be:
- Selling seven grams or less = Misdemeanor charge, up to one year in jail, fines up to $4,000
- Selling seven grams to five pounds = Felony charge, up to two years in prison, fines up to $10,000
If you are accused of possessing a smaller amount of marijuana for personal use, you will likely have a misdemeanor case, which means there might be a chance that you will not be prosecuted. Again, however, you cannot assume that your county is not testing for THC content.
Discuss Your Arrest with an Experienced Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer
The law offices of Kyle Whitaker handles cases involving marijuana possession, as well as other types of substance possession and sales. Call 817-332-7703 or contact us online right away if you are arrested and speak with our Fort Worth drug crime defense attorney.