Many states throughout the country have legalized the medical and even recreational use of cannabis. Although medicinal marijuana is limited in Texas, recreational use is still against the law. The following blog post is an overview of the marijuana laws in Texas.
Texas Medical Marijuana Law
Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 399—the Texas Compassionate Use Act—in June 2015, allowing the use of low-THC cannabis oil (less than .05 percent of THC) to treat epilepsy. Four years later, Gov. Abbott signed House Bill 3703 to expand the qualifying conditions eligible for the Texas medical marijuana program by adding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, and seizure disorders.
In June 2021, House Bill 1535 was signed into law, expanding coverage to include all types of cancers and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, the THC limit is raised from .05 percent to .1 percent. HB 1535 takes effect in September.
Texas Recreational Marijuana Law
As we mentioned earlier, recreational cannabis use in Texas is illegal. Possession of up to two ounces of marijuana or giving someone up to seven grams is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.
Possession of between two and four ounces of cannabis or selling someone up to seven grams is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and/or a fine no more than $4,000. Possession of between four ounces and five pounds of marijuana, possession of less than one gram of marijuana concentrate, or sale of between seven grams and five pounds is a state jail felony, punishable by a state jail sentence between 180 days and two years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
How the Texas Hemp Law Affects Marijuana Possession Arrests
In June 2019, Gov. Abbot signed House Bill 1325 into law, legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp— which is considered cannabis containing less than .03 percent THC—as well as the possession and sale of CBD products. But since the law changed the legal definition of marijuana (cannabis with more than .03 percent), many marijuana possession charges throughout the state were dropped because of the lack of available THC testing equipment.
Thus, municipalities throughout Texas have passed local cannabis reforms in recent years. Cities such as San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso have approved measures to end arrests for simple marijuana possession and issue citations instead.