No Changes to Marijuana Laws in recent Legislative Session, which may be a good thing

iStock_000002633881XSmall.jpgWhile legislators introduced two bills in the 83rd Texas Legislature that, if passed, would have reduced penalties for marijuana possession in Texas, legislators also considered two additional bills that, if passed, would have worsened policies in Texas concerning marijuana possession.
Representative Rick Miller, of Fort Bend County, introduced a bill that sought to broaden the scope of Texas’ criminal offense of “delivery of marijuana” to also include “intent to deliver marijuana.” This bill would have increased the penalty for delivery of ¼ oz. or less of marijuana, where there is no payment involved, from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. The bill would have also required the same penalty for intent to deliver. This bill only made it to the first stage of the legislative process and thankfully did not even come close to passage.
Another questionable bill was introduced by Representative Allen Fletcher of Harris County. Rep. Fletcher introduced a bill, which would have created a new, distinct crime for possessing marijuana plants with the intent to grow. Such possession of marijuana plants with intent to grow is already a felony under Texas law. Rep. Fletcher’s bill did pass two stages of the legislative process, but fortunately did not make it far enough to receive a house vote.
Compared to the expansion of drug laws that legislators enacted in the 82nd Texas Legislature, one could view the lack of action regarding marijuana laws in the recently concluded 83rd Texas Legislature as a good thing. In the 82nd Texas Legislature, legislators added synthetic marijuana to the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Because of this addition to Texas drug laws, under current state law if an individual possesses synthetic marijuana, a prosecutor could charge him with a variety of drug offenses. These offenses include possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute, and drug manufacturing. Under the enacted law, possession of synthetic marijuana could result in criminal charges ranging from a Class B misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree. Punishment for possessing synthetic marijuana varies from jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000, to a jail sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.
Synthetic marijuana is described as any quantity of a synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the effects of naturally occurring cannabinoids, including substances labeled “Spice” and “K2” formerly sold by small retail stores. If one faces legal issues over possession of such substances, he or she is strongly encouraged to contact a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in the field of drug law.

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Gilbert Garcia has been Passionately Pursuing Justice for over 30 years and founded The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm in 2008. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is a boutique law firm, specializing in Criminal Defense. Gilbert represents adults and juveniles accused of a crime and who have with a felony, misdemeanor or record cleaning case. Conveniently located on the courthouse square to serve Montgomery and Walker Counties. Gilbert became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is located at 220 N. Thompson St., Suite 202, Conroe, TX 77301.  www.ggglawfirm.com.

Drug Related Charges may include: Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Controlled Substance, Possession of Dangerous Drug, Manufacturing a Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance, Delivery or Intent to Deliver Marijuana/Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and many other drug related charges.