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Simple possession vs intent to distribute

When facing marijuana-related charges, your freedom and future are at stake as a Texas conviction carries some of the country’s harshest penalties. If you accept a plea agreement and avoid the most severe penalties, it can affect your employment, student loan eligibility and apartment lease. 

According to the Texas Tribune, hemp and marijuana look and smell very similar. However, hemp is legal, and marijuana is not. 

Elements of simple possession

Under Texas laws, even a small amount of marijuana can land you in jail. Possession of four ounces or less results in a misdemeanor charge. Any amount more than that, and you can face felony charges. The fine varies, based on the amount in your possession, from $2,000 to $4,000.  First-time offenders may have the option of completing a drug diversion program instead of prison, depending on the court district in which you face charges. 

Factors that indicate distribution intent 

If you knowingly have a significant amount of marijuana, the prosecution may bring possession with intent to manufacture charges. The factors law enforcement takes into consideration include the following: 

  • Quantity inconsistent with personal use
  • Presence of scales, packaging materials and weapons 
  • Arrest history for the location 
  • Presence of large amounts of cash 

The presence of multiple Cannabis sativa plants, including the seeds, shredded buds and joints, could also indicate the potential for the preparation of the substance for sale. If convicted, you could face fines up to $100,000 and up to 99 years in jail. 

Possession of any amount of cannabis concentrate is a felony in Texas. Depending on the amount, you could receive a prison sentence of up to 99 years and a fine up to $50,000. However, facing charges is not the same as a conviction. Understanding your case’s unique circumstances can help you address the marijuana-related charges with the best possible outcome. 

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