In June 2019, hemp production became legal. Law enforcement agencies, however, lack an easy way to differentiate between hemp and marijuana. The situation has resulted in inconsistent enforcement of marijuana laws throughout the state. Some law enforcement agencies continue to cite people for possessing marijuana and sometimes arrest them. In other communities, law enforcement leaders have chosen to largely ignore marijuana.
An apartment complex in Tyler was the scene of a drug raid in late August. Narcotics investigators in Henderson County had targeted the home of a 53-year-old woman. According to the Henderson County Sheriff, she had been arrested the week before in a different town and found to have one-quarter pound of methamphetamine in her possession. At her Tyler location, authorities reported seizing another half pound of methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana and a substance believed to be cocaine. The woman now faces charges of manufacturing and delivering controlled substances. The court set her bond at $50,000, and she remains jailed in the Smith County Jail.
When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that legalized the cultivation of hemp in the state, dozens of district and county attorneys announced that they would stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases. These prosecutors were not taking a stand on the issue of marijuana legalization, they were choosing to avoid pursuing cases they did not believe they could win. Crime labs in Texas are not currently able to determine with accuracy the THC content of marijuana, which means that prosecutors are not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance a marijuana defendant was caught with was marijuana and not hemp.
Texas authorities have busted seven people on drug charges after executing a search warrant at a residence in Marshall. The arrests stemmed from an ongoing investigation by the Harrison County Sheriff's Office.
It is more common to hear of drug testing in the workplace versus in schools. School districts in Texas are battling with the idea of whether to test kids for drugs and the process needed to go about doing this. A major question is whether this will apply to both middle and high schools.
The Texas Department of Public Safety will no longer arrest individuals found in possession of 4 ounces or less of marijuana. Instead, the Lone Star State's largest law enforcement agency will take a cite-and-release approach. The new policy was announced in a memorandum sent to DPS offices on July 10 and will only be applied when individuals are stopped by officers in the counties they reside in. However, marijuana remains illegal in Texas, and individuals caught in possession of the drug will still face up to a year in jail if convicted.
Recently, Texas passed a law that made it legal to possess hemp. However, confusion regarding how to enforce the law has resulted in prosecutors throughout the state refusing to accept misdemeanor marijuana possession cases. The confusion comes from the fact that hemp is defined as cannabis that has a limited amount of THC in it. Labs in the state are not currently able to conclusively determine how much THC is in cannabis.
Authorities in Texas found 31 pounds of marijuana in a 2013 Hyundai after responding to the scene of an accident. The accident took place at the intersection of Victory Drive and Indian Springs in Marshall. An officer at the scene reportedly smelled a strong odor of marijuana and asked the driver of the Hyundai about the smell.
Many people in Texas may be relieved to learn that hundreds of low-level marijuana charges are being dropped across the state. The state law does not actually decriminalize marijuana for personal use. It does, however, legalize hemp and hemp products like CBD oil, which are non-intoxicating. In order to pursue a case under the new law, police and prosecutors must distinguish between marijuana and hemp. The legislation, which passed as House Bill 1325, redefined the meaning of "marijuana" in state law. While the term previously referred to parts of the cannabis plant overall, the change specifies only those parts that are higher in THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
In June 2019, a bill allowing the cultivation of hemp was signed into law by the governor of Texas. As a result, prosecutors in Travis County are rejecting possession of marijuana cases that originated on or after June 10 that don't come with a lab report. The reason why the cases are being rejected is that lab equipment can't detect the level of THC in a cannabis sample.