The cannabis laws in Texas do not have a long history as the legalization of medical cannabis has been legalized in 2015. Even though this was passed on paper, the sale of medical marijuana didn’t start until 2018.
Apart from the very restrictive medical marijuana policies, recreational cannabis use is not decriminalized and can have serious consequences and very high penalties.
We will take a look at the history of the cannabis laws in Texas and where do the current regulations and limitations stand.
History of Cannabis Laws in Texas
texas in one of those states where the current outlook on marijuana, even if it is medical is not very positive. It wasn’t until 11the June 2015 when the state passed the Texas Compassionate Use Act also known under the code name SB 339. This bill was passed with the intention to regulate the cultivation, processing, selling and consuming medical marijuana. This initially referred to a patient with intractable epilepsy.
The cannabis laws in Texas pointed out the creation of the Compassionate Use Registry if Texas which all patients need to be registered with in order to have the right to legally purchase medical cannabis.
According to the current laws, patients are allowed to consume cannabis which has a low THC content and high CBD content. Still, cannabis is prohibited to be smoked even if the THC contents in it are low.
The medical marijuana program in Texas is overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety. This department is in charge of regulating the cultivation, processing, and sale of medical marijuana to qualifying patient. Still, the cannabis laws in Texas even for medical patients are very strict. Not all physicians are allowed to recommend medical marijuana as a treatment, but only those physicians who are recognized and certified by the state. Additionally, the state-certified physicians need to provide clear instructions and dosage recommendations for each of the patients they believe should be taking medical marijuana as a part of their treatment, This also includes the dosage instructions for both the patients and their caregivers, as well as the number of refills they would require in a given period.
Where Can You Buy Medical Cannabis in Texas?
According to the cannabis laws in Texas, only patients who have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy are allowed the access to medical marijuana, The state has a very strict policy and does not recognize any other conditions as qualifying.
The state of Texas has state-licensed dispensaries – three in total: Cansortium Texas, Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas. These are the only three dispensaries in the country and they have received their licence from the state on 15th December 2017, which compared to some of the other states is very late down the line.
Patients are required to purchase their own medical cannabis yet if they are unable to do so they cannot appoint a caregiver. The cannabis laws in Texas at the moment allow for only social workers and nurses to be able to deliver cannabis to patients. Dispensaries also offer delivery services as two of the three licenced dispensaries will be willing to deliver medical cannabis to patients who are unable to go and buy it themselves.
Cannabis laws in Texas High Times
Where Can You Consume Medical Cannabis in Texas?
The current cannabis laws actually do not explicitly point out where it is safe to consume cannabis if you are qualifying medical patients. Still, it is safe to assume that the patient would need to rely on common sense. Since medical cannabis is not allowed to be smoked in this state, qualifying patients who are discrete might be able to consume the recommended cannabis dosage at all places.
There are also no regulations at the moment is regards to the employment and housing status of medical marijuana patients. It is unclear whether a landlord can deny housing due to the medical marijuana status of the patient or if the employer has the right to forbid consumption at the workplace to terminate the work contract.
The possession limits, according to the cannabis laws in Texas are set by the state-licensed physician who gave the recommendation to the patient.
It must be pointed out that smoking cannabis even with a low THC content is strictly forbidden. Qualifying patients are allowed to buy cannabis which has less than 0.5% THC content by weight. Any strains with higher THC content are considered illegal.
How To Register as a Medical Marijuana Patient?
The medical marijuana program in Texas functions in a completely different way than in other states. While the state of Texas has a registry for qualifying patients, there are actually no medical marijuana identification cards.
Qualifying patients can be prescribed medical marijuana by a state-licensed physician. The physician will be the one who will register the patient for the state registry. There is no fee for becoming a medical marijuana patient. After the person is added to the registry, they will be allowed to purchase medical marijuana in any of the three state-licensed dispensaries.
How To Become a Medical Marijuana User in Texas?
The cannabis laws in Texas only recognize one qualifying condition: intractable epilepsy. Other conditions for which marijuana is recommended as a part of the treatment such as cancer, HIV or Crohn’s disease are not considered as qualifying. This is clearly an indicator that Texas indeed has probably the strictest cannabis laws in the country.
There are no age limitations for patients who are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. Still, patients who are under 18 need their parent or legal guardian when purchasing medical marijuana.
Qualifying patients need to be permanent residents of Texas in order to qualify for the program. After a physician prescribes medical cannabis as part of the treatment, the patient needs to have the decision reviewed by a second physician in order to be able to start buying medical marijuana.
Patients who are unable to buy their own cannabis can appoint a caregiver. However, while in the majority of other states a caregiver can be any person who is an adult and has a clear drug-related criminal record, the state of Texas allows only for nurses and social workers to be caregivers for patients. Only they have the right to purchase and distribute cannabis on behalf of the patient.
Cannabis Lab Testing in Texas
The cannabis laws in Texas do not require for medical cannabis to be tested before it hits the market. It is slightly unclear how dispensaries make sure that the cannabis they sell is in line with the regulations, yet probably they are only cultivating certain strains of marijuana which are low-THC and high-CBD. In house, testing is another possibility.
The cannabis laws in Texas have still not decriminalized marijuana so the possession of even small quantities can lead to serious penalties.
Even though there were attempts to change the cannabis laws in Texas and make marijuana legal for recreational use, the changes are still not carried out even though several bills have already been raised.
The cannabis laws in Texas go as far to make falsifying a drug test as a misdemeanour punishable by 180 days in prison and $2000 in fines. Any drug-related offences automatically mean that the driver’s licence of the person will be suspended/
When it comes to possession of marijuana if you are not a medical user, the consequences one is going to face depend mainly on the amount they are caught in possession of.
If a person is caught with less than 2 ounces of marijuana, the deed is considered a class B misdemeanour and it is punishable in the same way as falsifying a drug test – 180 days in prison and $2000 in fines. For quantities between 2 and 4 ounces, the cannabis laws in Texas state that the person can face up to 1 year behind bars and fines up to $4000. This is classified as a class A misdemeanour.
People caught in possession of between 4 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana will be facing felony charges. The penalties are up to $10.000 in fines and between 180 days and 2 years in prison. The jail sentence can be reduced yet the 180 days are mandatory. The possession between 5 pounds and 50 pounds of cannabis is also classified as a felony and while the fines remain the same, jail time increases to a minimum of 2 years behind bars as a mandatory sentence and it can go up to even 10 years.
Cannabis Testing Texas via Texas Tribune
Possession of between 40 pounds and 2.000 pounds is classified as a felony in the second degree with a fine of up to $10.000 and prison time between 2 years and 20 years. The possession of over 2.000 pounds of marijuana is classed as the highest degree of a felony and it can lead to a minimum of 5 years and maximum 99 years of imprisonment and $10.000 in fines,
The sell of marijuana is not allowed according to the cannabis laws in Texas. The sell, delivery of gifting as little as 7 grams of marijuana can result in 1 in jail and a fine of up to $2000. The punishments for selling marijuana illegally grow together with the amount that the person is selling. For example, if someone is caught selling or delivering over 2.000 pounds of marijuana, they are risking life in prison and a fine of up to $100.000.
selling marijuana to a child is considered a serious offense according to the cannabis laws in Texas, classified as a second-degree felony. The mandatory minimum for one such offense is set at 2 years in prison and it can go up to 20 years and the fines are set to $10.000.
Charges for illegal cultivation of marijuana depend on the amount that the person was caught with and they correspond with the possession charges.
Paraphernalia is also punishable in Texas and a person in possession of it is facing a $500 fine as a class A misdemeanour. However, the sale of paraphernalia is a more serious offense – class A misdemeanor punishable by up to $4000 in fines and 1 year in prison.
Even though the law still stands like that, there have been attempts to decriminalize the possession of small amount is certain places in Texas
The cannabis laws in Texas are far from liberating at the moment. However, with more and more people becoming aware that marijuana can be useful for consumers, there are bills that are being submitted with the hopes that cannabis will be finally decriminalized. we will have to wait and see but there are hopes that Texas will become the next country in which recreational marijuana consumption becomes more liberal.