If you’ve been arrested for marijuana possession in Harris County, you find yourself facing misdemeanor charges. A conviction could mean jail time, fines or both. And the arrest will appear on your permanent record, which could make it hard to find a job, housing or schooling. However, recent changes in Texas hemp laws have made it harder for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to pursue charges for marijuana possession.
Does HB 1325 Legalize Cannabis in Texas?
Products made from cannabis are sweeping the country. In 2018, hemp industry sales topped $1 billion; this amount is expected to more than double by 2022. And the CBD market is expected to exceed $20 billion by 2022. Hemp production is skyrocketing; it’s natural that struggling Texas farmers would want a piece of this rapidly expanding market.
In response, Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 1325. The law went into effect Sept. 1.
HB 1325 legalizes the production, manufacture, retail sale, and inspection of industrial hemp crops and hemp derived products like CBD oil. The law also changed the legal definition of marijuana from cannabis to cannabis that contains more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Basically, this means under 0.3% THC = legal cannabis; over 0.3% THC = illegal marijuana.
Current Crime Lab Tests Can’t Tell the Difference
So, how can this new definition help you if you’ve been arrested on marijuana charges in Harris County?
The lab tests used in marijuana possession cases in Harris County only show the presence of THC. The tests cannot tell if the marijuana in a drug case has a THC level of over 0.3%. There are tests capable of determining the level of THC in cannabis. However, only a few facilities are certified to perform the tests, and their services don’t come cheap.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said it will not pursue criminal charges for possession of marijuana for 4 ounces and under without a lab test proving a THC level of more than 0.3 percent. The Fort Bend County District Attorney said they will not prosecute new cases until THC concentration tests can be performed as well. Prosecuting Harris County felony marijuana possession charges will be decided on a per-case basis.
Have You Been Arrested for Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession in Harris County?
While this new law is causing problems for prosecutors, it could be good news if you’ve been arrested for marijuana possession in Harris County. But getting your case dismissed requires experienced legal help.
If you’ve been charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession in Harris County, talk to Houston drug charges attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss. Lisa is a former county DA turned criminal defense attorney. She’s on top of all recent changes in Texas hemp laws and how they apply in her clients’ cases.
Set up a free consultation with Lisa to review your case. She can help decide if recent changes in Texas’ marijuana laws can help you.