Texas Marijuana Laws

The possession and sale of any amount of marijuana are illegal in Texas, and potential penalties vary by the amount possessed or sold.

By , Attorney

Both state and federal laws regulate the possession, sale, and manufacture of marijuana. Texas law makes it illegal to possess, manufacture, distribute, or sell any amount of marijuana (marihuana). In line with the federal government, Texas classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. Unlike federal law, though, Texas has limited exceptions permitting the use of low-THC cannabis prescribed for certain medical conditions.

This article reviews the penalties for possession (including cultivation) and delivery (including sales or gifts) of marijuana in Texas. It also discusses medical marijuana under Texas' compassionate-use program. While not covered in this article, it is always a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in Texas.

Is Weed (Marihuana) Illegal in Texas?

Yes, weed is illegal throughout the state of Texas. Weed or marijuana refers to the plant Cannabis sativa L., its seeds, and any derivatives. Delta 9 is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. Penalties for marijuana crimes vary depending on the nature of the offense and the amount involved. Penalties range from a fine or minimal jail time for simple possession to life in prison for delivery.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Texas?

Texas law does not allow for medical marijuana except for cases that fall into its compassionate-use law. This exception allows qualified doctors to prescribe low-THC cannabis to their patients with certain conditions. Low-THC cannabis means the prescription cannot contain more than one percent THC.

In order for a physician to write such a prescription, several requirements must exist, including the following:

  • the patient is a permanent resident of Texas
  • the doctor complies with certain registration requirements
  • the patient has a diagnosis of, among others, epilepsy, a seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, autism, cancer, an incurable neurodegenerative disease, or PTSD, and
  • the physician determines the risk of the patient's medical use of low-THC cannabis is reasonable in light of the potential benefit for the patient.

What Are the Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Texas?

A person commits the offense of possession of marijuana by knowingly or intentionally possessing a "usable quantity" of marijuana. While not defined by statute, a usable quantity is generally enough to make a cigarette. Growing marijuana also falls under this crime.

Penalties vary according to the amount possessed with increased penalties for offenses committed in drug-free zones, such as schools, playgrounds, and youth centers. The penalties are as follows:

  • Two ounces or less. The punishment for this Class B misdemeanor includes up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Four ounces or less but more than two ounces. This offense constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
  • Five pounds or less but more than four ounces. For this state jail felony, a defendant faces 180 days to two years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
  • 50 pounds or less but more than five pounds. A third-degree felony subjects a guilty offender to two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds. The punishment for this second-degree felony is two to 20 years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
  • More than 2,000 pounds. Possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana can land a defendant in prison for life or five to 99 years and a $50,000 fine.

What Are the Penalties for Selling or Distributing Marijuana in Texas?

Texas law makes it a crime for a person to knowingly or intentionally deliver marijuana (or possess marijuana with the intent to do so). Penalties vary according to the amount sold or possessed with the intent to sell, with increased penalties for sales to a minor or within a drug-free zone.

  • Gifting one-fourth ounce or less. The punishment for this Class B misdemeanor includes up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
  • Selling one-fourth ounce or less. This offense constitutes a Class A misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
  • Five pounds or less but more than one-fourth ounce. For this state jail felony a defendant faces 180 days to two years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
  • 50 pounds or less but more than five pounds. The punishment for this second-degree felony is two to 20 years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
  • 2,000 pounds or less but more than 50 pounds. This first-degree felony can land a guilty defendant in prison for life or five to 99 years and a $10,000 fine.
  • More than 2,000 pounds. Delivery of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana can land a defendant in prison for life or 10 to 99 years and a $100,000 fine.

If a felony-level offense occurred in a drug-free zone, the defendant faces one higher level of punishment. A person commits a second-degree felony if they knowingly deliver marijuana to a child (a person younger than 18). In such a case, however, an affirmative defense exists if the offender was under 21 years old and gifted one-fourth ounce or less of marijuana to the child.

What Are the Penalties for Making, Selling, or Possessing Drug Paraphernalia in Texas?

It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally use or possess with intent to use drug paraphernalia in Texas. Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana.

Possession of drug paraphernalia constitutes a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 but no jail time. Selling paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor and subjects a defendant to up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Selling paraphernalia becomes a state jail felony when the recipient is a minor. A guilty defendant faces 180 days to two years' imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you're facing a charge for a marijuana-related offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area as soon as possible. A lawyer can evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case against you and help develop any defenses that might apply to the unique circumstances of your case. A knowledgeable attorney can also advise you on how the law will apply to your set of facts.

(Tex. Health & Safety Code §§ 481.002, .120 to .122, .125, .134; Tex. Occup. Code §§ 169.001 to .003; Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.21 to 12.23, 12.31 to 12.35 (2022).)

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