A bipartisan bill that would partially decriminalize marijuana possession is making its way through the Texas Legislature. Under current state law, people who possess two ounces or less of marijuana can face up to six months in jail. They may also be fined up to $2,000. If House Bill 81 (HB 81) passes and is signed into law, possession of one ounce or less could result in a fine of up to $250. Marijuana possession for this amount would not result in criminal charges.
Each year, tens of thousands of people are arrested for marijuana possession in Texas. In 2015, there were more than 61,749 arrests statewide. FBI statistics show a majority of those arrested for possession are under 30 years old. These young people who are charged with possession of marijuana can have their futures derailed.
What Are the Possible Consequences of Marijuana Possession?
If someone is in college and receiving federal financial aid to pay for tuition or other education expenses, they may have that aid cut. Having a possession of marijuana charge can make it much more difficult to find a job. Jobseekers with criminal records may be passed over for candidates who do not have records. Finally, apartment complex applications may require you to disclose a criminal record.
Keep in mind that even if HB 81 does become a law, Texans caught with more than one ounce can face steep criminal penalties and devastating life consequences. If you were recently arrested for possession of marijuana, it is very important to hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Lewisville criminal defense attorney Michael Crowder has handled thousands of defense cases. He is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.