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.
Texas residents may be interested to learn that more than 200 marijuana possession cases were dismissed by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney from June 10 to June 28. However, it was noted that the cases could be refiled if better testing for marijuana and cannabis becomes available.
On June 10, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot signed a new law that clarifies which CBD products can be legally sold in the state. The new law, which went into immediate effect, also permits Texas farmers to grow federally-approved industrial hemp crops.
The University of Texas at El Paso has suspended starting quarterback Kai Locksley after learning that he was taken into custody on June 8. The 22-year-old athlete faces a raft of charges including drug possession, driving while intoxicated, carrying a weapon unlawfully and making a terroristic threat. Media reports indicate that he was released from the El Paso County Jail shortly after his arrest after posting a bond of $2,900.
Media outlets have reported that the Wichita Falls deputy city manager submitted his resignation after a search of his residence led to the discovery and seizure of marijuana and evidence of marijuana growing. Law enforcement officers from several agencies took part in the May 28 search, but the man was not taken into custody at the scene and no charges have been filed against him.
People in Texas continue to face severe prosecutions for drug offenses even as a growing number of jurisdictions across the country move toward legalization of cannabis products. Many people use CBD oil or other hemp-based derivatives for their medical and other therapeutic effects. These concentrates do not contain a significant amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that produces a high. Still, they can contain enough remnants in order to produce a positive test. This has left many CBD products in a legal limbo, even after changes in the 2018 federal farm bill that appear to have legalized the products.
A routine traffic stop in Texas on May 16 led to the discovery of what police described as a "large amount" of marijuana. The 30-year-old Mississippi man who was behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV involved has been charged with possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana and possessing between 4 and 400 grams of a controlled substance. He was also cited for driving without a valid driver's license. His bond has been set at $4,500, according to media accounts of the incident.
A 19-year-old man was taken into custody by police in Brown County on May 8 just one day after he was placed on probation for a misdemeanor drug charge. The man has been charged with aggravated robbery and is being held at a local detention facility in lieu of a $100,000 bond according to media reports. He is accused of attempting to rob the apartment of a Buffview man during the early morning hours of May 7 to obtain marijuana to sell on the street. His 24-year-old alleged accomplice has also been taken into custody.
A bill that would have completely removed penalties associated with possessing small amounts of marijuana in Texas has been amended. Initially, the bill was intended to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. However, this piece of legislation was rewritten just before it was set to be heard by the state House of Representatives.