Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The active ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. In 2007, 14.4 million Americans older than 12 admitted to using marijuana in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use. Texas has marijuana and paraphernalia laws that are more stringent than their federal counterparts.
Possessing less than 4 oz. of marijuana in the state of Texas is considered a misdemeanor and may carry a fine up to $4,000 and one year in prison. Possession of 4 oz. to 5 lbs. is considered a state jail felony and may carry a sentence of up to two years in prison with a $10,000 fine, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Possessing 5 to 2,000 lbs. of marijuana will result in a felony conviction and carry a sentence of two to 20 years in prison, with a fine up to $10,000.
Texas differentiates between a gift and sale of less than 1/4 oz. of marijuana, according to NORML. A gift will be considered a Class B misdemeanor and carry a sentence of up to 180 days in prison and a $2,000 fine. Selling less than 1/4 oz. of marijuana is considered a Class A misdemeanor and will result in a fine up to $4,000 and up to one year in prison. Selling marijuana to a minor in the state of Texas is considered a felony that is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Selling within 1,000 feet of a school or within 30 feet of a youth center, public pool or video arcade may be considered a misdemeanor or felony and carry increased incarceration time and fines at the judge's discretion. The federal standard is 100 feet from a youth center or other places where minors actively collect, according to the University of Texas at Austin--Division of Student Affairs University Health Services.
Possession of marijuana paraphernalia in Texas is considered a Class C misdemeanor, according to NORML. There is no jail time associated with paraphernalia possession but will result in a $500 fine. Selling paraphernalia is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and up to $4,000 in fines. The federal standard for punishment for selling paraphernalia is up to three years in prison with no fine, according to the University of Texas.
Almost half of the 50 states in the U.S. have marijuana stamp laws. Texas requires those who possess marijuana to purchase a state-issued stamp and attach it to the marijuana, according to the University of Texas. Like in many other states, Texas residents rarely observe the marijuana stamp law for fear that complying with the mandate will incriminate them. The purpose of the stamp laws is to add the additional penalty of tax evasion after a drug offender has been arrested and criminally charged, according to the University of Texas.
- cannabis image by Pablo PeyrolÃ³n from Fotolia.com