“Dabbing” or “vaping” are popular terms used to describe smoking marijuana concentrates using an e-cigarette/vaporizer. Vaping marijuana or THC concentrates such as shatter, hash or hash oil in Houston can get you into a lot more trouble than just smoking “loose” marijuana. In Texas, possession of “loose” marijuana is a misdemeanor offense while possession of a THC concentrate is a felony.
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One of our clients was recently charged with a 3rd degree felony after being arrested for possession of 2 – 4 grams of liquid THC. This came as a shock to our client, who was under the impression that the penalties for possession THC concentrates were the same as those for a similar amount of marijuana – a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine and no jail time.
What Is And Isn’t Marijuana, According To Texas Law
Why are the consequences for being charged with possession of a THC concentrate so much more severe than being charged with simple marijuana possession?
It’s because of how Texas law defines marijuana.
The Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(26) defines Marijuana as the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not, the seeds of that plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of that plant or its seeds.
Under Texas law, marijuana does not include:
- The resin extracted from a part of the plant or a compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the resin;
- The mature stalks of the plant or fiber produced from the stalks;
- Oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant;
- A compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, fiber, oil, or cake; or
- The sterilized seeds of the plant that are incapable of beginning germination.
As you can see, resins and oils derived from marijuana are not considered to be marijuana under Texas law. These substances, along with others containing tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, are listed separately as Penalty Group 2 drugs. Ecstasy, MDMA, PCP and mescaline are examples of other Penalty Group 2 substances.
Penalties for Being Arrested for Possession of THC Concentrates in Houston
The penalties for being charged with possession of a Penalty Group 2 substance can be quite severe. The degree of felony is usually determined by the quantity of the substance found in a defendant’s possession at the time of their arrest:
- Possession of less than 1 gram is considered a state jail felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to 6 months to 2 years in jail, and receive a fine of up to $10,000.
- Possession of 1 to 3.9 grams is a 3rd degree felony. If convicted, you could be sentenced to anywhere from 2 to 10 years in jail and receive a fine of up to $10,000.
- Possession of 4 grams to 399 grams is a 2nd degree felony. If convicted you could face 2 to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- 400 grams or more is a 1st degree felony with penalties of 10 years to life in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
In addition to the fines, jail time, and parole, a conviction for vaping marijuana in Houston will mean the loss of your driver’s license and could make it difficult to get a job, financial assistance, or housing.
Have You Been Charged with Felony Possession of a THC Concentrate in Houston?
If you have been arrested for possession, manufacture, or delivery of a marijuana-derived concentrate in Houston or Harris County, it is in your best interest to seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible.
Houston marijuana defense lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss has been helping clients who find themselves in trouble with the law for over 15 years. A former prosecutor turned defense attorney, Lisa knows how to get her clients the best results possible.
Call the offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss Attorney at Law today at (713) 449-9922 to schedule a free initial consultation that will allow Lisa to review your case and explain your options.