The use of cannabis is prohibited in the state of Texas, though some extracts that contain no more than 0.5% THC are legal if one is enrolled in the state’s Compassionate Use/Low-THC program. Possession of less than 4 oz of flower cannabis that is classified as marijuana under federal law (having THC content greater than 0.3%) is a misdemeanor. Possession of 2 oz or less is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and a period of incarceration no longer than 180 days. Possession of more than 2 oz, but less than 4 oz, is punishable by a maximum fine of $4,000 and a period of incarceration no longer than 1 year.
Possession of more than 4 oz of flower or any cannabis concentrates that contain more than 0.3% THC, provided one is not participating in the state’s Compassionate Use/Low-THC program and in possession of extract that contains no more than 0.5% THC, is a felony. The punishment for possessing more than 4 oz of flower is as follows:
• 4 oz to 5 lbs: Minimum of 180 days of incarceration and a maximum of 2 years; maximum fine of $10,000.
• 5-50 lbs: Minimum of 2 years of incarceration and a maximum of 10 years; maximum fine of $10,000.
• 50-2,000 lbs: Minimum of 2 years of incarceration and a maximum of 20 years; maximum fine of $10,000.
• More than 2,000 lbs: Minimum of 5 years of incarceration and a maximum of 99 years; maximum fine of $50,000.
Possession of concentrated forms of cannabis not sanctioned by the law has a similar penalty structure:
• Less than 1 g: Maximum period of incarceration of 2 years; maximum fine of $10,000.
• 1-4 g: Maximum period of incarceration of 10 years; maximum fine of $10,000.
• 4-400 g: Maximum period of incarceration of 20 years; maximum fine of $10,000.
• More than 400 g: Maximum period of incarceration of life; maximum fine of $50,000.
Cultivation of marijuana is illegal. Punishment is based on the total weight of the plants.
Certain jurisdictions have decriminalized the possession of non-felony amounts of marijuana. In the cities of Austin and Dallas, possession of up to 4 oz has been decriminalized. In Cedar Park, the amount is 2 oz. The following counties have also decriminalized the non-felony possession of marijuana:
• Bexar (4 oz)
• Harris (4 oz)
• Hays (2 oz)
• Nueces (4 oz)
• Travis (2 oz)
• Williamson (2 oz)
Certain individuals in Texas may be able to access cannabis extracts that contain no more than 0.5% THC through the state’s Compassionate Use/Low-THC program. That THC limit will be lifted to 1% on August 1, 2021, following the passage of HB 1535 in June 2021. As of 2019, potential applicants must have one of the following qualifying conditions:
• ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
• Autism spectrum disorder
• Cancer (as of August 1, 2021)
• Incurable neurodegenerative disorders
• Intractable epilepsy
• Multiple sclerosis
• PTSD (as of August 1, 2021)
• Seizure disorders
• Terminal cancer
Only physicians licensed to practice in the state of Texas who have Board certifications in a medical specialty that is pertinent to the condition of the particular patient (and provided the condition is one of the above ailments) can take part in the program. Additionally, physicians must enroll in the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas. Instructions to do so can be found here: https://texasoriginalcc.com/physicians/how-to-register-for-the-compassionate-use-registry-of-texas/
However, it should be noted that the law specifically uses the word “prescribe” rather than “recommend.” As federal law prohibits physicians from prescribing Schedule I substances like marijuana, this has led to a great deal of confusion surrounding the Texas law and many physicians have opted to not register with the state’s program.
Texas does not have a reciprocity program to accommodate medical cannabis patients from out of state.
For more information about Texas’ Compassionate Use program, see the site for the Texas Department of Public Safety: https://www.dps.texas.gov/rsd/cup/index.htm.