Todd Ver Weire

Marijuana Offense Defense

Possession of marijuana in Texas is illegal, and it is still a crime under federal law as well. While a number of states have passed laws allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana or made the use of marijuana legal, it is important to remember that Texas is NOT one of those states. However, the Texas legislature did recently define marijuana as possessing more than .3% of THC. If the THC content is .3% or less, it is considered hemp, which is legal.

Because one cannot tell whether or not a bag of green leafy substance has more or less than .3% of THC, law enforcement must now rely upon lab testing to determine if that leafy substance is, or is not, legal. Yes, everyone knows that you, more than likely, bought that bag, or hand rolled cigarette expecting it to be marijuana, you don’t really know.

As such, it is extremely important that if the law enforcement officer asks – is that marijuana – you say that you don’t know and most importantly, exercise your right to remain silent.  You are not a scientist with a gas chromatograph in your pocket so there is no way for you to know is there more or less than requisite level of THC.  Therefore, the answer “I don’t know” is technically correct and you need to stop right there.  They will prod you with more questions, try to cajole you into admitting it by saying it will go easier with you if you admit it, or just tell me it is and I will let you go.  Answering any of those questions with anything other than I am exercising my Fifth Amendment rights could result in you being detained, searched, and if you were driving your car being searched.

Law enforcement does NOT have to be honest with you when asking questions.  The number of individuals convicted because they thought they were being helpful to law enforcement, and in a sense they were because it made convicting them easier, are legion.  When in doubt, shut your mouth.  Law enforcement officers undergo hours and hours of training on how to get folks to confess unknowingly, or to slip up.

Like other crimes, the severity of the possession of marijuana offense is governed by how much you have on you.  Unlike other drugs which are measured in grams, marijuana is measured in ounces.  While less than two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor, it is important to remember that a conviction for marijuana offenses will follow you for life. Just like other drug convictions, a possession of marijuana conviction results in a driver’s license suspension, as well as the potential loss of other benefits such as financial aid, food stamps, and rental assistance.  Further, a possession of marijuana conviction can make it difficult to pursue certain careers or obtain professional licensing in various fields, such as being a pharmacist in Texas. Do NOT let what appears to be a minor case cause a life-long impact. While every case is different, there are certain things that we will look for, such as a wrongful stop, an unconstitutional search, or a law enforcement officer trying to charge everyone in a vehicle simply because drugs were found in the vehicle.