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Marijuana Defense

Marijuana laws have been debated, revised, and reviewed throughout the country in recent years. With debate surrounding the legality of cannabis use and possession, the laws are under scrutiny and may be changed in the near future. In Texas, however, the charges involving marijuana crimes still carry heavy penalties that can affect many aspect of the offender’s future.

Almost half of the drug arrests in Texas in 2012 were for marijuana offenses, suggesting a shift in the public’s perception of the drug. Despite the rise in public approval of legalizing the drug, Texas law still bans all use of the drug. The consequences of a cannabis charge can seem overwhelming, but an attorney can fight to defend you from the effects of this allegation.

Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Austin, TX

If you’re facing the serious consequences of a marijuana offense in Austin or the surrounding areas, The Law Office of Kevin Bennett can aggressively fight on your behalf. Kevin Bennett is a drug defense lawyer who has represented hundreds of clients facing crimes related to marijuana and other drugs.

Kevin Bennett knows exactly what you’re up against and understands that a proactive defense can mean the difference in years in prison or returning to your daily life. He limits his caseload so every client can be assured he or she will receive an unparalleled level of personal attention.

Call (512) 476-4626 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Travis County marijuana defense attorney today. We can analyze the details of your case with you and help you to choose the best option for your defense. We are not afraid to take on a challenge, and we can put your mind at ease as you begin the strenuous process of fighting a criminal charge. We proudly represent Texans in cities such as Austin, Lakeway, Tarrytown, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills and other areas in Travis County.

Texas Marijuana Information Center

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The Basics of Marijuana

Marihuana is a product of the cannabis plant and is currently used as both a recreational drug and a medical aid. This substance is commonly known by many nicknames, including:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Reefer
  • Dope
  • Grass
  • Hash
  • Mary Jane
  • Ganja
  • Roach

Although the plant has been outlawed since the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, the recent examination of the plant’s medicinal properties has caused a surge of support for legalizing or regulating the drug’s use. At this time 21 states have laws that legalize the use of marijuana in some form. Many states are discussing similar legislation, and organizations such as NORML have supported reform of the laws governing the drug’s use.

With more than 50% of American’s supporting the legalization of cannabis use in some form, the debate on the topic is leading to major changes across the nation. At the moment, however, the drug is still banned across Texas.

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Punishment for Possession of Weed in Texas

Texas is infamous for having harsh consequences for possession or sale of cannabis. The penalties for possession can be found under the Texas Health and Safety Code Section 481.121, which states a person is in possession of cannabis if they “knowingly or intentionally possess a usable amount” of the drug. The following are the penalties for possessing marijuana in Texas.

  • Possessing less than 2 ounces
    • Class B Misdemeanor – Incarceration for up to 180 days in jail as well as a fine of up to $2,000
  • Possessing between two ounces and 4 ounces
    • Class A Misdemeanor – Incarceration for up to 1 year in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000
  • Possessing between 4 ounces and 5 pounds
    • Third-Degree Felony – Incarceration for up to 2 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Possessing between 5 pounds and 2,000 pounds
    • Second-Degree Felony – Incarceration for up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Possessing more than 2,000 pounds
    • First-Degree Felony – Incarceration for up to 99 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $50,000.

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Medical Uses of Cannabis

The cannabis plant yields several substances that have been shown to treat a variety of symptoms. The plant is known to increase appetite, decrease nausea, and can reduce anxiety induced inflammation and other issues. Testing continues to explore the medical benefits of the plant, but it is currently used as treatment for illnesses including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lou Gherig’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

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Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Austin, TX?

Medical marijuana was legalized in the state of Texas on June 1, 2015 with the passage of Senate Bill 339. The legislation allows patients who qualify to have access to low-THC cannabis under the Texas Occupations Code § 169.001. However, patients must be eligible for the medical marijuana under strict guidelines and the cannabis can only be prescribed to them by a physician who is qualified under the Compassionate Use Registry. In addition, medical marijuana is only considered legal if:

  • It’s no more than .05 percent by weight of THC; and
  • Not less than 10 percent by weight of CBD

Unfortunately, not many people can have access to the benefits of medical marijuana. The Texas Compassionate Act only allows patients who have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, incurable neurodegenerative diseases, ALS, terminal cancer, or autism to obtain a medical marijuana card. Although there has been reasonable effort to expand medical marijuana guidelines, none have been made as of February 2020.

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How Close is Texas to Legalization?

Eight years ago, Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational weed. Years later 15 other states have followed their lead including Vermont, South Dakota, Arizona, and New Jersey. However, it seems for the state of Texas recreational legalization seems to be a long shot as the requirements for medical marijuana are incredibly restrictive and most lawmakers aren’t keen on making the drug recreational just yet. Although some ambitious legalization bills have been filed, it’s unlikely they will go far during the 87th Texas Legislative Session.

Despite this, there are still many cannabis advocates in the Texas Senate who are trying to inch closer to legalization. In December 2020, Representative Erin Zwiener filed HB 441, which would decriminalize possession for marijuana for personal use. If the bill passes, offenders will have a citation rather than an arrest for possession of marijuana. This has already been enacted in some Texan counties such as Travis County, but Rep. Zwiener’s new bill would decriminalize marijuana possession across the state.

In addition to decriminalizing marijuana possession, lawmakers also are keen to expand the Texas Compassionate Use Act. A new bill, SB 90, sponsored by Senator Jose Menendez plans to extend the medical marijuana program to people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and several other conditions.

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Defending You Against a Marijuana Offense in Texas

Weed charges make up the majority of drug-related arrests in Texas, as well as in all other states across America. There are many crimes associated with the drug and its use, including:

All of these offenses carry the potential for severe penalties. A conviction could mean jail time, thousands in fines, suspension of your driving privileges, mandatory drug treatment, and a permanent mark on your criminal record that can interfere with your future employment and education opportunities.

For students, your entire future could be on the line. Schools such as University of Texas have the right to discipline students for offenses committed both on and off campus. If you are arrested for a pot offense, you will be called to a student disciplinary hearing, where you may face consequences such as suspension, withholding of your degree, or expulsion.

An Austin criminal defense attorney is not able to directly represent you at this hearing, but he can be present to advise you as to how to proceed and when to object. He can outline your options for you and talk you through how to defend your college career against these allegations.

As with most drug-related offenses, there is always a question of your constitutional rights. If the marijuana was discovered during an illegal search without a proper warrant, it may be inadmissible in court. An experienced Austin attorney like Kevin Bennett can use his knowledge of the criminal justice system in Texas to seek out a weak point in the prosecution’s case against you. This means thoroughly examining every detail of your arrest and ensuring that your rights are upheld.

Additional Resources
Study Shows Cannabis Relieves COVID-19 Symptoms | Forbes – Visit the official website for Forbes to read a reticle by Lindsey Bartlett detailing how a promising new study in Canada has revealed how some cannabis strains can reduce severe COVID-19 symptoms. Access the site to learn how marijuana can relieve a “cytokine storm,” which is another term for acute respiratory distress due to COVID-19, and the anti-inflammatory potential for cannabis.

Marijuana Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about the penalties for possession of cannabis. Access the site to learn what drug schedule marijuana is classified under, how cannabis is defined under Texas law, the consequences for possessing it, and other related criminal offenses.

Marijuana Defense Attorneys in Austin, TX – Visit the Lawyer Legion website to find a directory of the top cannabis defense lawyers in Austin, TX. The attorneys are ranked by important criteria such as their membership and leadership in the National Legal Committee (NLC) for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and other criminal defense organizations in Texas.

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Marijuana Possession Attorney in Austin, Texas

If you’ve been arrested for a marijuana crime in Travis County, you need the help of an experienced attorney to defend your future. Kevin Bennett can minimize the stress that you face and help you feel confident as you proceed. Don’t wait another moment to secure legal representation with an experienced Austin marijuana defense attorney today.

The more time that you have to prepare your defense the better, so don’t hesitate to enlist the help of a skilled lawyer. Call (512) 476-4626 today to schedule your free consultation appointment and get your case started on the right track. We accept clients throughout Travis Couny including Pflugerville, Lakeway, Lago Vista, Manor, Bee Cave, and Jonestown.