Texas: Current Marijuana Penalties are Harsh and Unreasonable

With protection for only the few patients registered in the Compassionate Use Program, all marijuana possession is illegal in Texas and carries significant penalties.

All drug convictions carry lasting collateral consequences, including hindered access to education, employment, and housing. A conviction also automatically triggers a 180 drivers license suspension and even an arrest without a conviction can result in a person’s License to Carry can be suspended for 7 years.

Charge Penalty Level Arrest Jail Time Criminal Record
Possession: Up to 2 ounces Class B Misdemeanor Yes Up to six months Yes
Possession: two-four ounces Class A Misdemeanor Yes Up to 12 months Yes

Concentrates*: up to 1 gram

State Jail Felony

Minimum of six months, maximum 24 months
Concentrates*: one-four grams State Jail Felony Yes Minimum of two years, maximum 10 years Yes

*Concentrates include cannabis oils and infused products (edibles). With edible products, the weight of the entire product is counted, rather than just the amount of cannabis used to make it.

Texas Compassionate Use Program
Passed by the Legislature in 2015 and expanded in 2019, the Texas Compassionate Use Program provides for regulated access to low-THC cannabis for those with a few debilitating medical conditions. The program is regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety and currently includes three licensed “dispensing organizations” that cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis to registered patients.

To become a registered patient, a qualified patient must have approval from a specialist who have been vetted and approved by the state. To date, there are fewer than 300 doctors participating in the program. The lack of protection built into the bill is believed to be the reason for so little participation.

Efforts are underway to reduce penalties for low-level possession and make the Compassionate Use Program more inclusive for patients with debilitating medical conditions.

The 87th Texas Legislature is in session until May 31.

Click here to review proposed legislation and contact your legislators in support of reform!