Regardless of the fact that Texas has a very limited medical marijuana policy, for the most part, marijuana possession remains illegal. Furthermore, Texas drug penalties remain some of the toughest in the nation.
As reported by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the penalty you face if convicted of a drug offense depends on the following three factors:
- The identity of the substance, i.e., marijuana
- The amount of marijuana you possess
- Whether minors are in the vicinity when law enforcement officers catch you possessing marijuana
Possession of a minor amount of marijuana represents a misdemeanor in Texas. Even so, you could face 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine for possessing less than 2 ounces. If convicted of possessing 2-4 ounces, your maximum jail sentence remains the same, but your maximum fine increases to $4,000.
Possessing higher quantities of marijuana result in the following penalties if convicted:
- Between 4 ounces and 5 pounds: felony; 180-days mandatory minimum jail sentence, maximum 2-year prison sentence, maximum $10,000 fine
- Between 5-50 pounds: felony; 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; maximum 10-year prison sentence; maximum $10,000 fine
- Between 50-2,000 pounds: felony; 2-year mandatory minimum prison sentence; maximum 20-year prison sentence; maximum $10,000 fine
- Over 2,000 pounds: felony; 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, maximum 99-year prison sentence; minimum $50,000 fine
Sale and paraphernalia penalties
If convicted of selling marijuana, sentences range from 180 days to 20 years, plus a fine ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. You can even face jail time for possessing marijuana paraphernalia such as rolling papers, pipes, alligator clips, scales or plastic bags. Paraphernalia possession represents a misdemeanor carrying penalties of a maximum 1-year jail sentence and maximum $4,000 fine. However, if you have prior drug convictions or receive a conviction for selling paraphernalia to a minor, both represent felonies with mandatory minimum jail sentences and fines.