To Vape Or Not To Vape
As several states have legalized marijuana, Texas has stuck to its cowboy roots and resisted change. However, the Lone Star state has acquiesced to some of the public and business pressure to legalize or at least decriminalize marijuana and other products containing THC. This last legislative session, the Texas Congress legalized hemp and hemp-based products to appease Texas hemp farmers.
However, little has changed regarding the consequences of being caught with a vape pen containing THC. It may come as a surprise to some that possession of a vape or e-cigarette pen with THC is automatically classified as a felony. Most people know that possession of marijuana under 2 ounces without previous convictions starts as a misdemeanor. As the attitudes towards marijuana in Texas have slowly changed, some district attorney office’s announced that they would stop prosecuting low-level marijuana possession cases.
With hemp changes, it’s a case of money talks. Hemp farmers successfully lobbied state legislatures. It is a highly lucrative industry. But the vape industry has not been as successful. There is a big difference between the possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana extracts, THC, and cannabis oils.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Under current Texas law, possession of two ounces or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor that permits prosecutors to send a person to jail for up to 180 days and fine him a maximum of $2,000. However, possession of any amount of THC, hash oil, or a concentrate is a felony crime that can result in a range of two to ten-year prison sentences and a maximum $10,000 fine. This is a stark contrast to first-time marijuana possession convictions.
Possession of THC vape pens falls under the category of controlled substances in Texas law. The Texas Controlled Substances Act defines a controlled substance as “a substance, including a drug, an adulterant, and a diluent listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, 2-A, 3, or 4.” THC oils, dilutants, THC vapes, dabs, and other versions are included in these controlled substances.
Texas state law classifies drugs or controlled substances into four groups with different levels of punishment. Substances that lawmakers decided to have the highest potential for abuse and little value for medical treatment carry the harshest penalties. These substances are sorted into penalty group 1, and these are known as the hardest drugs like cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. THC oil and any substance that contains THC other than marijuana are listed in the next group, penalty group 2.
The takeaway is that Texas is still tough on drug possession. While a little headway was made in terms of hemp, possession of marijuana and THC extracts and THC vape pens are still harshly punished. Again, possession of even the tiniest amount of THC vape or daps will automatically be prosecuted as felonies.
To answer the question in this title — to vape or not to vape — the short answer is no. Do not vape with THC oils or any other THC extracts. You will be prosecuted under a felony offense with the potential of becoming a convicted felon if you do not hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney who thoroughly knows Texas drug laws.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana or THC offense, contact the attorneys at Corbett & Corbett. We represent people charged with these laws every day in Texas Courts.