Attitudes relating to the usage of marijuana are changing rapidly. As of December 2022, 21 states have passed legislation permitting the recreational use and sale of marijuana products. Unfortunately, Texas is still not one of those states. Although products like edible marijuana gummies and brownies may be widely available, they can still lead to a felony charge. In the Greater Houston area, dozens of charges relating to THC extracts and edibles are filed every week. Fortunately, it is possible to keep a charge of possession of marijuana edibles off of your record.
What are the penalties for possession of marijuana edibles in Texas?
The penalties for possession of edibles like THC gummies or brownies are severe under Texas law. Rather than have its own sentencing scheme, Texas Health and Safety Code 481.103 crudely classifies marijuana edibles under Penalty Group 2, alongside a wide range of compounds, including methamphetamine and ecstasy (MDMA).
Under Texas Health and Safety Code 481.116, the level of the offense you could be facing for possession of a THC edible will be based on the total weight of the edible (including the non-THC parts of the edible). The potential penalties are as follows:
- State jail felony (180 days to 2 years and a $10,000 fine): If the weight of the THC edibles is less than one gram.
- Third-degree felony (2 years to 10 years and a $10,000 fine): If the weight of the THC edibles is between one and four grams.
- Second-degree felony (2 years to 20 years and a $10,000 fine): If the weight of the THC edibles is between four and 400 grams.
- First-degree felony (5 years to 99 years and a $50,000 fine): If the weight of the THC edibles is over 400 grams.
Because these weight limits are very low and were designed to address other more potent chemicals and compounds, it is possible to face a second-degree felony for possessing a single package of edibles. Many single packs of commercially sold edibles sold in other states (or homemade in the Greater Houston area) weigh 40 grams or more. By contrast, possession of marijuana flower (smokeable marijuana), does not become a felony until two ounces are possessed.
How can you get a THC edible case dismissed?
With the stakes so high, it is critical that your criminal defense attorney do everything possible to get your THC edible case dismissed. An effective drug possession attorney should have a clear strategy to get a drug case dismissed. This will begin with gathering all of the evidence. In a possession of marijuana edibles case, this typically includes a police report, videos, laboratory results, and sometimes a search warrant.
Drug possession cases – including cases involving the possession of marijuana edibles – frequently involve traffic stops, searches of vehicles, people or homes, and police interrogations. This area of law is known as the law of search and seizure. Once your drug possession attorney has all of the evidence, he should challenge the police’s authority to conduct every step of its investigation. Very frequently, the police exceed their authority, and in those cases, it is sometimes possible to convince a judge that the illegally obtained evidence should not be permitted in court.
In addition to challenging the legality of the police investigation, an effective criminal defense attorney should also challenge whether prosecutors can prove that a defendant knowingly possessed a marijuana edible. If a defendant was unaware that a defendant left a marijuana edible in his car, for example, then that person is not guilty of knowingly possessing a marijuana edible. An experienced drug possession attorney should be skilled at developing the facts to show that a person did not knowingly possess an illegal substance, whenever possible.
Even where it appears that the police can prove the case against you, it may still be possible to obtain a dismissal of a possession of THC edible case dismissed through a formal or informal pre-trial diversion. A pre-trial diversion is an agreement with a District Attorneys’ office that your possession of marijuana edible will be dismissed if you comply with certain conditions, like performing community service or completing a drug education course. Typically, a pre-trial diversion involves a written contract, but in some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a dismissal informally. Because a written contract can sometimes be construed as an admission of guilt (particularly under immigration law) it is sometimes preferable to negotiate an informal dismissal of a possession of marijuana edibles case.
Fortunately, in the Greater Houston area, many prosecutors are open to creative resolutions of THC edibles cases that avoid leaving a permanent stain on a person’s record. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to best approach a particular prosecutor, often depending on the county (Harris County is much more liberal than Montgomery County, for example).
If your THC edible case is dismissed, you will be eligible to have your records expunged. In any possession of controlled substances case, an expunction is considered to be the best possible result as it results in the literal destruction of all records relating to the arrest and you will even be able to deny being arrested in the future in most cases.
What can I do to help get my THC edibles case dismissed?
The main thing that you can do to help is to avoid getting arrested again while on bond, and avoid getting your bond revoked by violating your bond conditions. In a possession of THC edibles case, the first time you go to court you will typically be given a set of written bond conditions you must follow throughout the case. In the Greater Houston area, this will include potential travel restrictions and random urinalysis. It is important that you understand and carefully obey these conditions. If you do not, your bond could get revoked, which means that you will be put back in jail. Getting your bond revoked will also make it less likely that your attorney will be able to negotiate an easy dismissal of the case, since the prosecutor will assume you are a person who does not respect the law and the court’s orders.
Although Texas law is tough on marijuana edibles arrests, there are many ways that your case can be resolved favorably. However, it is critical that you have an experienced drug possession attorney on your side. Attorney Jose Ceja is a former drug prosecutor who has handled hundreds of marijuana cases and can help you maximize your chances of a great result. If you are arrested for possession of a THC edible anywhere in the Greater Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm today.