Has Hemp Legalization Led to Fewer Marijuana Drug Charges in Texas? | Wilson County Criminal Defense Attorney

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Has Hemp Legalization Led to Fewer Marijuana Drug Charges in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Jourdanton drug crime defense attorney

In the past few years, many states have begun to navigate the divisive waters of marijuana legalization. Some states have accepted the change and have legalized all forms of marijuana use, including recreational, while others have remained strict on the matter. Texas is one of the few states that has stayed headstrong in the fight to keep marijuana out of the hands of citizens. While medical use has been legalized for certain conditions, recreational use is strictly forbidden throughout the state. Drug laws can seem convoluted to the average citizen and even to law enforcement, as some forms of the cannabis plant have been accepted by Texas lawmakers. 

What Is Legal?

Since the signing of the Texas Compassionate Use Law in 2015, medical cannabis is legal for a limited number of medical conditions. These include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease. If you do not have any of these conditions, medical marijuana treatments remain out of the question for your prescriber.

This past year, the legislature passed in Texas the legalization of industrial hemp production. The new law states that any cannabis, the plant from which marijuana derives, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels lower than 0.3 percent, is considered legal. Cannabis with such low THC levels is known as hemp, not marijuana. THC is the psychoactive component of the plant and levels this low does not provide the same “high” effect that marijuana does. For this reason, the state has allowed hemp to be grown as long as it falls within these lower THC levels.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is another component that is derived from cannabis. The byproduct is non-psychoactive but produces a calming effect often used for depression, anxiety, or insomnia. The state allows the sale of CBD oil for these purposes as long as the THC content is lower than 0.3 percent, thus considered hemp and not marijuana.

Causing Confusion

Hemp and marijuana may have different THC levels, but the plant itself looks the same to the naked eye. In order to properly test the THC levels within the plant, special technology is needed. This has placed law enforcement in a difficult position, making it almost impossible to determine if the plant that a Texan may have in his or her possession is legal or not. As a result, marijuana prosecutions in Texas dropped by more than half in the six months following the enactment of this law. The creation of an accurate testing method is in the works. However, this only applies to plant-based content and will likely not be used for minor offenses, leaving edible products or vape pen products untestable for the foreseeable future and many misdemeanor cases dropped.

Contact an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

All of the recently changed legislation regarding marijuana may have left you confused as to what is actually legal. By legalizing various forms of cannabis while leaving others as a crime, many may be facing charges for actions that they did not know were crimes, or they may be facing charges for a legal product being confused as an illegal one. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys are well-versed in all of the recent Texas law changes and we are prepared to help you fight against the confusion. With more than 40 years of experience in criminal law, we are prepared to take on your case. If you are facing any type of drug charge, contact our diligent Pleasanton drug charge defense lawyers at 830-769-1010 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/texas-marijuana-laws-2020-11849002

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/01/28/texas-marijuana-laws-2020-what-you-need-know/

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/01/03/texas-marijuana-prosecution-drop-testing-hemp/

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/02/26/texas-marijuana-misdemeanor-cases-wont-go-to-dps-crime-labs/ 

 

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