Attitudes relating to the usage of marijuana are rapidly changing throughout the country. Many states – including one bordering Texas – have legalized the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. The attitude shift and increased availability of marijuana in all forms mean that District Attorneys’ offices throughout Texas and the Greater Houston area are seeing an increase in arrests relating to marijuana edibles. But unfortunately, Texas laws have not kept up with the permissiveness of marijuana being treated in many parts of the country. If you get caught with a marijuana edible in Texas, you are likely to face a felony.
Marijuana edibles come in all shapes in sizes. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extract – the active psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – can be added to virtually any food or beverage imaginable. As the demand for THC edibles has grown, vendors have become extremely creative with edible marijuana products infused with THC. Cookies, brownies, gummies, and mints are the most popular and can be obtained easily in Texas. These edibles are either imported from out of state or produced in Texas in underground dispensaries. In the Greater Houston area, every week there are dozens of arrests relating to marijuana and THC edibles. Almost all edibles consumed are made with a THC extract – not flower marijuana – and are treated differently under Texas law.
Even though the active ingredient – THC – is the same in smokeable marijuana and edibles, Texas treats THC extracts much more harshly. While most cases involving the possession of smokeable marijuana filed in the Greater Houston area are charged as misdemeanors, all edible THC cases will be filed as felonies. This is due to the different way the law treats THC from sources other than marijuana under Texas Health and Safety Code 481.103.
The potential punishment for getting caught with an edible is based on the total weight of the edible, but even the lowest charge is still a State Jail Felony, for an edible weighing less than one gram (this would be a single edible gummy in some instances). Possessing a package of edibles (which frequently weigh 50 grams or more) could subject you to a Second Degree Felony. Although it makes no sense, marijuana edibles made with THC extracts are classified as Penalty Group 2 drugs, alongside a wide variety of other compounds, including angel dust (Phencyclidine ) or MDMA.
With such a steep potential penalty, it is critical to know what to do if you are at risk of being arrested for a THC edible. First of all, you should know that you never have to agree to a police search or to answer questions. In virtually every situation imaginable, it is not a good idea to cooperate with the police if there is a possibility it might incriminate you. If you are detained and believe you could be arrested for possession of a marijuana or THC edible, the advice is simple: Do not consent to a search. Do not answer questions. Ask for a lawyer.
Any experienced criminal defense attorney will tell you that in controlled substance cases, the police frequently need to establish an “affirmative link” between a defendant and the controlled substance. This means that they must show that a defendant knowingly possessed a substance. If a passenger left a THC brownie in your car that you did not know about, you are not guilty of possession of a controlled substance because you did not possess it knowingly. When police seek to interrogate a suspect in a drug case, many of their questions will focus on the knowledge element, because the police know this is often disputed.
Attorney Jose Ceja began his career as a drug prosecutor and has handled thousands of drug cases of all types, and involving every imaginable factual scenario. If you are arrested for possession of marijuana or THC edibles anywhere in the Greater Houston area, attorney Jose Ceja is an excellent choice. Call today to schedule a free consultation.