Here is what you need to know about Texas’ pot laws.
By Megan Munce and Megan Menchaca
The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans and engages with them about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues, published the first edition of “Here’s what you need to know about Texas’ pot laws”
The Brief is a daily newsletter that keeps readers up to date on the most important Texas news. The original article was published in January of 2020.
Marijuana prosecution cases around the state of Texas have been thrown into disarray since the legislature legalized some forms of the cannabis plant but not others.
A new Texas law tried to make the state in line with a federal law that legalized marijuana but kept it illegal. There was widespread confusion.
Texas law stands on marijuana and other cannabis products.
Marijuana andHemp are both derived from the cannabis plant. The difference is how much of the compound is contained. Marijuana can be classified as a cannabis plant if it has a concentration of more than. Cannabidiol is a nonpsychoactive compound of cannabis Businesses can sell it if it has a concentration of less than 3%. Supporters say it can help with anxiety, depression and insomnia. The FDA hasn’t evaluated many of those claims and has only approved one treatment for a rare genetic disease. There are three products that contain synthetic cannabinoids. Small amounts of Delta-8 are produced by cannabis plants. Delta-8 can produce a high similar to marijuana when concentrated in a lab.
Can cannabis products be used safely? There are a lot of unanswered questions about whether cannabis-derived products are safe or not and the FDA is trying to gather more information about the safety of cannabis use. The Texas Medical Association wants to know more about the safety and effectiveness of cannabis-derived products. Medical marijuana and cannabidiol products are generally safe and well-tolerated, and there is some evidence to show that cannabidiol can be used to treat specific diseases. All cannabis-derived products are not FDA-approved or evaluated to treat any disease or condition. The FDA warns that they may interact with other drugs. The symptoms of mental health conditions may be worsened by it. When used in large quantities, cannabis-derived products may cause their own side effects. Changes in mood and appetite can be caused byCBD products, according to the FDA. There have been reports of people losing consciousness due to the effects of the products. As the drug became more popular, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noticed an increase in health emergencies associated with it. Many of the cases involved children being exposed to the drug, which is often sold in gummy and other candy forms There is a potential for non-FDA-approved products to beContamination. Heavy metals and pesticides can be found in some of the products. The U.S. Cannabis Council, a coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses advocating for the legalization of cannabis, tested 16 samples of products from across the country. Several of the products that were tested contained copper, nickel, and other toxic heavy metals, as well as an illegal amount of marijuana. It is difficult to determine the general safety of using cannabis-derived products because of the lack of a formula. It is difficult to conduct trials on the effectiveness of the drug because it is hard to get a consistent dose every time delta 8 vape juice. In pharmaceutical-grade products, the dosage can be standardized across all products and tested in clinical trials. In Texas, it is up to individual doctors to decide how much to prescribe, rather than relying on scientific data. If you are going to drive, you should not use any of the products. According to the FDA, can impair your ability to drive. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding can affect fetal brain development and lead to a lower birth weight, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
How do Texas laws compare to other states? According to U.S. News, 19 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana possession. Marijuana use and possession is still regulated in some states. Texas is one of 10 states that allow access to cannabidiol products. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states allow higher levels of marijuana use for medical reasons. There is no public cannabis access program in Idaho, Nebraska and Kansas. In 27 states, possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use has been decriminalized. It is still illegal to use marijuana recreationally in many of the state laws. Civil penalties include fines or drug education programs. Depending on the amount, people who are arrested or cited for marijuana possession can still face legal penalties. According to NBC News, 14 states have banned the use of delta-8 specifically or all unregulated forms of the drug.
What are the punishments for marijuana possession in Texas? In Texas, possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor and can result in up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. If you have 2 ounces to 4 ounces of marijuana, you can be fined up to $4,000 and jailed for a year. If you have more than 4 ounces you will be charged with a felony. If you are caught with drug paraphernalia, such as pipes or bongs, but not marijuana itself, you can be fined up to $500, but not jailed.
Is there a push to legalise marijuana in Texas? Both Republicans and Democrats in the Texas House tried to get rid of the criminal penalties for marijuana possession. Getting rid of jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana is one of the bills introduced. None of them were signed into law. Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat running against him in the race for governor, have voiced support for decriminalizing marijuana. The Texas Republican Party supports moving cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug because it has a high potential for abuse. It would still be illegal at the federal level for people to use cannabis for recreational purposes.
Marijuana possession is handled by cities and counties. Many prosecutors in Texas are dropping low-level marijuana possession charges in favor of not pursuing new ones. Law enforcement agencies in Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Nueces counties stopped arresting people with small amounts of the drug on a first offense after the law passed. Instead, they may offer diversion programs to keep defendants out of jail. The Texas Department of Public Safety, the state’s largest law enforcement agency, ordered its officers not to arrest people but to issue citations if possible in marijuana possession cases, which still carry a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The Austin City Council voted unanimously in January 2020 to ban spending city funds on testing for small amounts of marijuana. Austin voters approved a ballot measure that decriminalized marijuana. In El Paso and Plano, people who are found with small amounts of marijuana will be cited instead of being arrested. The policies don’t completely decriminalize marijuana, but they do reduce the number of people arrested. In Bexar County, cite-and-release policies reduced the number of people held in county jail for marijuana offenses and the number of cases being prosecuted by the local district attorney.
The law has had an impact on the state. The governor and other state officials insisted that the bill did not decriminalize marijuana. The law led to a decline in marijuana arrests as some counties stopped prosecuting marijuana possession cases and others didn’t have the testing capabilities to differentiate between legal and illegal marijuana. When the law went into effect, prosecutors in Texas filed upwards of 5,000 marijuana possession cases a month. It dropped below 2,000 cases a month by the end of the year. According to the Texas Office of Court Administration, there were 1,745 marijuana possession cases filed in the first five months of this century.
Over the past few years, polls have shown that support for marijuana legalization has remained strong. In a June 2018 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 84% of the state’s voters would allow pot for medical use, in small amounts, or in any amount. The Dallas Morning News/ UT-Tyler found that 80% of Texas voters would support legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. The National Conference of State Legislatures and Texas Medical Association have supported The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters don’t play a role in the journalism. Here is a complete list of them.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.
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