As of January 1, 2018, six states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington) and the District of Columbia allow for personal, recreational use of marijuana. The laws vary by state. It has become a booming industry in places like Colorado where people go to find that “Rocky Mountain High” that John Denver sang about so long ago.
This begs the question, “Is marijuana now legal?” And the simple answer is, “No.” Possessing, cultivating, and distributing are all illegal under Federal law. The same is also illegal under Texas law. I want to go further into what it means for people in the Great State of Texas.
Places like Dumas, Texas are having a boom in traffic citations growing into illegal possession of marijuana arrests. Dumas is in the Panhandle of Texas on Highway 287. It is one of the first places you can stop coming in from Colorado or northern New Mexico. That little bit of weed you decided to bring home from the ski trip or summer hiking adventure is now a big problem.
After a weekend in Colorado, you make one more stop at a licensed marijuana distributor and buy just under one ounce to bring home. It is perfectly legal in Colorado and it is just for a little personal fun. After you are back in Texas you get stopped for violating a traffic law. The officer notices a smell of fresh weed and within a few minutes you are being arrested for possession of marijuana under two (2) ounces. That little bit of weed you decided to bring home could have you facing up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000.00 fine. This does not include posting bond, hiring an attorney, and explaining to your boss why you are having to miss a few days of work to make court appearances.
Maybe smoking pot is not your things. Why not try some edibles? Even Colorado has banned edibles that look like candy (gummy bears with THC). Still you find something that is more to your taste than straight out weed. You have that THC laced edible with you back home in Texas. The possession of such an edible is much like the possession of the marijuana above. You are facing 180 days in jail and a $2,000.00 fine.
But you were not caught in possession of the yummy edible, you were caught when you decided to start handing out the little yummies at a party with friends. Things are all good and the party is jumping. Then the cops show up, because the neighbors complained about the noise. An officer sees the yummies and someone points to you as the person who has been handing out the edibles. Now you are facing a felony. If the yummy edibles with the THC weigh less than a gram, you are facing up to 2 years in state jail and a up to a $10,000.00 fine because you were distributing a controlled substance.
If you are someone you know is arrested or charged with possession of marijuana or cannabinoids or THC, have them call me, Andrew Decker.