Across the country, there appears to be a shift in people's attitudes toward the use of marijuana, both for medical and recreational purposes. Based on the results of a recent poll, Texas is no exception.
The poll was conducted by researchers at the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas. They surveyed 1,200 Texans regarding their attitudes toward marijuana.
Of those surveyed, almost 50 percent reported that they support the legalization of small quantities of marijuana for recreational use in Texas, for those 21 years of age and above. In addition, 77 percent of the individuals surveyed indicated that they support the legalization of medical marijuana.
Fight charges of marijuana possession in Texas
Despite the support of the public, marijuana possession continues to be illegal in Texas. In fact, over 73,600 people were arrested for marijuana possession in Texas in 2013. In total, marijuana possession arrests accounted for 59 percent of all arrests for drug possession in Texas that year.
The penalties for marijuana possession in Texas can be severe, and vary depending on the amount of the substance found in the individual's possession.
Those found with four ounces or less of marijuana may face misdemeanor charges, while those found with greater quantities of the substance could be subjected to felony charges.
For an individual found with two ounces of marijuana or less, if convicted of marijuana possession, he or she could face up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Those found with between two to four ounces of marijuana could be jailed for up to one year and fined up to $4,000.
For those convicted of possession of four ounces to five pounds of marijuana, a minimum jail sentence of 180 days is imposed, with a possible maximum sentence of two years. In addition, those individuals may be fined up to $10,000.
A conviction for possession of five to 50 pounds of marijuana carries a jail sentence between two and 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. The potential maximum jail sentence increases to 20 years if the individual was in possession of 50 to 2,000 pounds of the drug.
The most severe penalties are reserved for those convicted of possessing over 2,000 pounds of marijuana. In such cases, the individual faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five years, with up to 99 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $50,000.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a marijuana-related crime in Texas, take the time to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure your interests are protected.