The count down has begun on an all-out ban of synthetic marijuana products in Texas. In the last few weeks, four Houston stores have been shut down and twenty other stores have been issued restraining orders in an effort to fight an increasing epidemic of synthetic marijuana in the Houston area. In an effort to combat the rising numbers of marijuana charges in the area, Houston law enforcement has teamed up with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The term “synthetic marijuana” refers to a variety of chemicals that are either sprayed onto plant material intended to be smoked or sold as liquids to be used in a vaporizer.
This most recent raid is focused on a particular strand of synthetic marijuana called “kush”, which is a hundred times more potent than regular marijuana and has a tendency to make drug users agitate, often violently so. Kush is not the only type of synthetic marijuana in Texas, however. Some of the other types of synthetic marijuana include Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, and Zohai. Synthetic marijuana users in Texas must be aware of the state laws regarding the substance because the state of Texas is beginning to take substantial steps toward preventing use of the drug.
The Texas Laws Regarding Synthetic Marijuana
The Texas Controlled Substance Act dictates which products are considered to be synthetic marijuana. Since September 1, 2015, individuals charged with offenses related to synthetic marijuana face the same potential punishments as individuals who are charged with possession of marijuana.
Potential Marijuana Charges In The State of Texas
As with any drug related offense, the degree of the charge is based upon the amount. In the state of Texas, these charges break down into the following elements.
- Less Than Two Ounces. Class B Misdemeanor. Individuals who are caught with this amount of marijuana face fines up to $2,000 and six months in jail.
- Between Two Ounces And Four Ounces. Class A. Misdemeanor. When individuals are charged with possession of marijuana, individuals face up to $4,000 in fines and a maximum of one year in jail.
- 4 Ounces To Five Pounds. State Jail Felony. Charges for this amount of marijuana possession carry $10,000 in fines and up to two years in jail.
It should be noted that there are even more increasingly strict punishment for individuals who carry larger amounts of marijuana than five pounds.
Potential Defenses To Synthetic Marijuana Charges in Texas
Individuals charged with synthetic marijuana possession have several available defenses:
- The Synthetic Marijuana Was Not Intended For Human Consumption. While it can be a particularly difficult threshold to overcome, individuals who can successfully argue that synthetic marijuana was not intended for human consumption can often succeed in defending against a marijuana charge.
- The Substance Was Not “Substantially Similar” To Marijuana. Individuals who can argue that synthetic marijuana was not “substantially similar” in terms of chemical composition to marijuana can defend against potential charges.
- There Was A Lack Of Intent That The Chemical Was Similar to Marijuana. Individuals who can successfully argue that the individual did not have the intention to use the synthetic product in a manner similar to marijuana can often succeed in avoiding a marijuana charge.
How Texas Legal Counsel Can Help
Laws regarding synthetic marijuana in the state of Texas have a tendency to change frequently. As a result, it is essential for an individual facing a synthetic marijuana to retain and experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer to fight any charges. Jeff King has an established track record obtaining positive outcomes for individuals who have faced similar situations.