October 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- According to a recent poll, a majority of people in Texas believe that marijuana use should be legal, or at the very least, decriminalized for those found in possession of small amounts of the drug.
The poll, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Marijuana Policy Project, found that 58 percent of Texas respondents support a change in Texas law allowing marijuana to be regulated similar to alcohol. For instance, a change allowing licensed establishments to sell marijuana to adults over the age of 21-years-old.
Specifically, the survey discovered that 41 percent of respondents strongly supported the law change, with 17 percent somewhat supporting. Conversely, only 24 percent strongly opposed such a move.
Additionally, the same poll found that 61 percent of respondents would prefer that possession of one ounce of less of marijuana be decriminalized - with civil penalties of $100 instead of possible criminal penalties. Under current Texas law, possessing two ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and time in jail.
Current penalties for Texas marijuana possession
also increase dramatically as the amounts found on an accused individual grow. For example:
- Possession of more than two ounces of marijuana, but less than four ounces, is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Possession of more than four ounces of marijuana, but less than five pounds, is a state jail felony.
- Possession of more than five pounds of marijuana, but less than 50 pounds, is a felony in third degree.
On the other hand, if the recent poll is any indication of how Texas lawmakers will address the legalization of marijuana, many of these criminal charges may be in for some modifications in the years to come.
Texas state marijuana laws versus federal laws
It is important to note, however, that even if the possession of marijuana is ever decriminalized under Texas state law, those found in possession of the drug may still face federal charges. Although, interestingly, Texas Rep. Steve Stockman recently backed a federal bill that would, if passed, prohibit federal law enforcement from penalizing anyone for marijuana possession as long as the accused individual is complying with state marijuana possession laws.
It remains to be seen whether this particular bill will gain any traction in Congress, although it does illustrate the complexities of current marijuana possession laws, both state and federal. Accordingly, if you are currently facing drug possession charges, it is typically best to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can help you navigate both state and federal laws, and assist in protecting your rights.
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