Although snacking on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) edibles like gummies may seem like it's less dangerous legally than smoking marijuana, that simply isn't the case in Texas. Simply put, if you're wondering whether you can legally bring THC edibles into Texas, the answer is a resounding no — and you could face stiff penalties for doing so. This general principle is true even if you purchased the edibles where they are legal.
That is, you may certainly purchase THC edibles where it is legal, but you may not then bring those same products across state lines into Texas without potentially facing legal problems if caught.
Even though other states allow marijuana use recreationally or at least medicinally — including Texas border states Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma — the Lone Star State so far remains staunch in its opposition to any legalization of marijuana and its derivatives. In fact, Texas even goes a step further by penalizing the possession of THC edibles even more harshly than it does for marijuana-related offenses.
Texas considers THC edibles, gummies, lollipops, and similar products to be in a different penalty category than marijuana, which means the consequences of getting caught with even just a bag of THC gummy bears on your way home from Colorado — where possession of them is legal — is a felony.
If you are considering bringing THC edibles into Texas, please read the following information and weigh your options carefully. If you are facing charges concerning THC edibles, getting a board certified criminal defense lawyer like Doug Murphy involved in your case as early as possible could mean the difference between a hefty prison sentence, getting charges reduced, or even getting all charges dropped.
The Difference Between Marijuana and THC
THC is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and is also the main psychoactive component of marijuana. While marijuana is typically smoked, THC is generally consumed through its oil added to various edibles such as gummies, lollipops, and other candies.
THC oil is also sold separately in places where it is legal to do so and may be added to foods or drinks at the discretion of the owner.
Texas Law Concerning Possession of Marijuana vs. THC Edibles
While you may think that the law considers marijuana and THC products to be the same, that simply is not the case in Texas. The Texas Controlled Substances Act governs state law concerning drugs, including their classification into different penalty groups as well as for various penalties for the offenses of possession, manufacture, and delivery.
Under Texas law, possession of a small amount of marijuana (less than four ounces) is a misdemeanor, but possession of marijuana extracts, such as the hash or resin of the plant, is a felony. Note, however, that possession of higher amounts of marijuana can also be charged as a felony, and all levels of penalties include potential fines.
All forms of THC concentrates are illegal in Texas. These concentrates include oils, waxes, sugars, and powders, and they may be eaten on their own, sprinkled on food, or otherwise mixed with food or drink to be ingested.
If you're wondering how much is too much THC for Texas law, you might be surprised to know that even just one THC-infused gummy bear, which weighs less than four grams, could subject you to 180 days to 2 years in prison.
Penalties for THC Edible Possession in Texas
THC gummies and other edibles are not considered in the same penalty category as marijuana; they are part of drug penalty group two, which is among the most heavily regulated drug penalty groups. Other drugs in this group include ecstasy and PCP. The rationale behind placing THC in his group and attaching harsher penalties than those associated with marijuana is that THC is more concentrated than marijuana, including in its effect on the user's brain.
Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.116 provides that the possession of less than one gram of a THC edible can result in a state jail felony charge. In Texas, a state jail felony conviction carries a minimum of 180 days in jail with a maximum of up to two years; the sentence must be carried out in full, with no chance of early release. Fines of up to $10,000 may also be assessed. Convicted offenders may also be subject to community supervision.
Possession of between one and four grams of THC is considered a third-degree felony and can carry a prison sentence between two and 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Possession of between four and 400 grams of THC is a second-degree felony and carries a prison sentence of between two and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you are accused of possessing more than 400 grams of THC, this falls into the category of first-degree felonies, which could mean 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Note that Texas law may consider the total weight of seized edibles to determine charges and penalties —not simply the amount of THC in them. This may occur when it is impossible to determine the volume of THC oil in a product apart from its dilutant or adulterant, as it is called under the law. Reverse engineering of how an edible was created or otherwise trying to determine the percentage of THC is sometimes too difficult for laboratories to determine.
Because of this peculiarity, a large container of THC cookies could bring not only a felony charge but also up to 20 years in prison even if their actual THC content is low.
Collateral Consequences of THC Edibles Felony Conviction
Even upon serving your sentence and paying off fines, you may still face additional repercussions stemming from a drug conviction. Having a drug conviction on your criminal record could mean troubles later in finding employment or rental housing. Moreover, a felony conviction means you can no longer vote or own firearms, so if you can avoid having a drug conviction on your record, all the better.
As with all criminal charges, if you have prior convictions — especially for drug crimes — your future could be even more in jeopardy because of just a small amount of THC. If you have already have a drug conviction on your criminal record and are facing THC-related charges, it is even more imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to make sure you are protected.
CBD Exception: Compassionate Use Act
While Texas has remained steadfast in its commitment to keeping all possession and use of marijuana illegal, the state legislature did pass the Texas Compassionate Use Act in 2015. This law permits the purchase and possession of oils infused with cannabidiol, which can be used as a pain reliever and seizure treatment.
Lawmakers made an exception for CBD products because cannabidiol does not have the same psychoactive effects that marijuana and THC have. Currently, it is only available to those being treated for epilepsy as prescribed by a doctor who qualifies to do so.
To be abundantly clear, if you are facing charges related to THC edibles or marijuana in Texas, the Compassionate Use Act will not help in your defense as it addresses the possession and use of an entirely different substance.
Another concern with CBD products is that although many are advertised as having no or low THC content, that may not be true. If you are stopped in Texas and have a CBD product that the authors send off for laboratory testing and the results show THC, you could be facing criminal charges. Accordingly — just as with THC edibles — even though they may legal where you bought them, it doesn't necessarily mean you can bring them into Texas without criminal consequences.
Seek Advice from a Texas Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime in connection with THC gummies or other edibles, the time to contact Doug Murphy is now. With so much at stake, you must be sure your future is in good hands, and an experienced advisor must be involved in the process as early as possible.
Attorney Doug Murphy is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and he has successfully defended countless individuals against drug crime charges over the course of his career.
To get started on your defense against THC edible-related charges, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., today for a free consultation.