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San Antonio Criminal Law Blog

Are you bringing in marijuana you legally bought elsewhere?

Possession of marijuana is illegal in the state of Texas. However, some people still buy it legally in a state like Colorado and bring it across the state line.

If you facing possession charges in the Lonestar State, you are looking at significant fines and possible jail time.

Fraternity members facing drug charges after party

Four people are facing drug charges after being arrested in Palo Duro Canyon following a weekend trip with a fraternity from Texas Tech. They are accused of a number of allegations, including possession of marijuana and possession of other controlled substances. While members of the Texas Tech chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity planned a weekend party trip to Palo Duro State Park, they failed to make reservations for a space at the park. In addition, park rangers allege that many of the fraternity members didn't pay the entry fee at the park.

After the fraternity members arrived and began to party at the site without a reservation, police quickly arrived at the scene. The party was shut down by the cops, who instead began investigating the presence of drugs and alcohol as well as potential underage drinking at the site. Park rangers said that various charges are pending, and local agencies are communicating with the university about the less serious allegations.

Marijuana possession charges in Texas

A number of states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, and the level of social acceptability has increased. It is illegal under both Texas and federal law, however, so people could face criminal charges for marijuana possession. The circumstances of the specific case dictate the potential penalties.

Sentencing guidelines for Texas marijuana crimes depend on the amount of marijuana the person was allegedly in possession of. If you have been charged with possessing 2 ounces of marijuana or less, for example, you might face penalties of up to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. This is a Class B misdemeanor offense. Possession of between 2 and 4 ounces is a Class A misdemeanor which could be punished by imprisonment for less than one year and up to $4,000 in fines. If you have been charged with possessing larger quantities of marijuana, you could face more severe punishments. Conviction on possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana is a first-degree felony and may be punished by up to 99 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.

Challenging the validity of police searches and search warrants

Illegal drugs discovered during police searches are often key pieces of evidence in narcotics prosecutions, but criminal defense attorneys in Texas and around the country may argue that searches and seizures are illegal in certain situations. The protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are taken seriously by the courts, and police officers must generally obtain warrants before searching individuals or their vehicles or residences.

However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Police may conduct warrantless searches when they have good reason to believe that they will discover evidence of criminal activity, and many cases involving serious drug charges are decided based on whether or not this probable cause existed. Police officers must also show probable cause when applying for a search warrant. Officers may claim to have the probable cause needed to conduct a warrantless search when they see illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia in plain sight or notice the smell of marijuana emanating from a vehicle.

CBD products showing up in Texas stores

As medical and recreational cannabis is legalized in more areas across the country, there has been a rise in Texas stores selling CBD or cannabidiol products. CBD is an extract of cannabis that is widely promoted for its pain relief and other medical properties. It does not contain THC, widely known as the psychoactive element in cannabis. As a result, it does not produce intoxication or a "high" and is often recommended by natural health enthusiasts and physicians as a means to handle insomnia and other issues.

In 2015, the state enacted a restrictive law on medical marijuana; it allows dispensaries with a state license to make and sell products with CBD. In fact, the law allows sales in higher concentrations than most of the products currently found on the retail market. Because CBD does not produce a high, however, many companies and individuals have begun selling the products without a specific license. CBD sales are not specifically forbidden under state law, and an increasing number of natural-health and skin-care companies are producing CBD products for sale across the country.

About larceny

Many Texans may think of larceny as common theft or stealing. However, some jurisdictions maintain conventional distinctions that consider larceny as a crime of its own and set it apart from other types of property offenses, such as robbery or embezzlement.

In order for an individual to be convicted of larceny, there must be proof that someone else's property was taken away illegally. It is also necessary to prove that the property was taken without the owner's consent and that there was intent to permanently withhold the property from the owner.

Daz Dillinger taken into custody on drug charges

Texas fans of rapper Daz Dillinger may be aware of his feud with Kanye West. West allegedly filed a restraining order against Dillinger in May.

However, West may temporarily have less to worry about since Dillinger was taken into custody on Sept. 25 for possession of marijuana. Reportedly, the incident occurred just outside his Georgia home where police found him with 117 grams of marijuana. In addition, he had a container labeled "Cannabis Lean", a vaporizer, oil and THC pods. Dillinger's bond was set at $15,000. He was charged with one count of possessing more than an ounce of marijuana and 12 counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Marijuana arrests on the rise despite increased legalization

In Texas, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance and generally not recognized as having value for medical reasons. However, a growing number of states allow this substance to be used for recreational and/or medicinal purposes. Despite a growing national trend toward allowing cannabis to be legally purchased, grown and used under certain circumstances, the number of marijuana-related arrests is on the rise. According to a report by the FBI, there is now one marijuana arrest nearly every 50 seconds in the United States.

The data referenced in the report suggests that the most common drug charge related to marijuana is for possession, not growing or selling it. In 2017, roughly 40 percent of the nearly 1.7 million drug arrests in the U.S. were for marijuana. Overall, drug arrests were up from the previous year according to the FBI report. It's estimated that drug busts occur almost every 20 seconds nationwide, and approximately 20 percent of the population now lives in states where marijuana is legalized. Many states have some type of legal protection in place for individuals who use medical cannabis or the extract produced from it.

Sugar Land man busted for $33,000 of drugs

On Sept. 7, a Texas man was arrested after law enforcement officers allegedly found a large quantity of marijuana in his Sugar Land home. The defendant has been charged with felony possession of marijuana and money laundering.

According to local media reports, members of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office narcotics task force executed a search warrant at a property on the 10000 block of Sugarbridge Trail. During the ensuing search, officers reportedly discovered and seized 6.5 pounds of marijuana, 198 THC vaporizers, an unspecified number of Xanax pills and more than $7,000 in cash. The total street value of the confiscated drugs is estimated to be around $33,000.

Increase of senior citizens using marijuana

By and large, marijuana has become far more accepted across the United States in recent years. Although it is still illegal in the state of Texas, there are still plenty of people here who use it regularly. In fact, one study found that a demographic increasingly using the substance is seniors. 

Data indicates that approximately 9 percent of individuals between the ages of 50 and 64 have utilized some form of marijuana within the past year. Within that same time period, around 3 percent of people who were at least 65 years old had used marijuana. This is a sharp uptick compared to only a few years ago. Many of these seniors appear to have used it earlier in life, with some participants having started in their 20s. 

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