Dozens of states now allow medical and recreational use of marijuana, and still more states without legalization have decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis. In Texas, however, holding less than 2 ounces of this substance can result in thousands of dollars in fines and time behind bars.

If you face a court date for marijuana possession charges, prepare yourself by understanding the potential consequences of a conviction for this crime in Texas.

Penalties for possession

Texas classifies possession of no more than 2 ounces of cannabis as a Class B misdemeanor. This crime carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and maximum jail sentence of 180 days, along with license suspension for up to six months. For 2 to 4 ounces, you can receive a $10,000 fine and one year in jail.

Mandatory minimum sentences take effect for possession of at least 5 pounds of cannabis, which carries at least two years in jail. For possession of more than 2,000 pounds, you will receive a minimum of five and up to 99 years in jail. Selling any amount of marijuana to an individual younger than 18 is a felony charge with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

If you have no previous drug convictions, you could potentially avoid jail time with a substance use education and treatment program. However, the availability of this program in Texas varies by county.

Impact of extenuating circumstances

The circumstances of your case affect your sentence in a marijuana possession conviction. The judge will consider:

  • Evidence indicating intent to distribute the drug, such as packaging, paraphernalia and substantial cash reserves
  • Previous criminal convictions
  • The type of cannabis, with higher penalties for hash oil concentrate than for dry flower

A solid legal defense is essential for those charged with marijuana possession in Texas. Advocating for your rights could mean the difference between a fine and months or years in prison.