There are many reasons why people may decide to grow marijuana. Perhaps the person needs to make some money and believe that growing marijuana will be a quick and effective way to raise some capital. Maybe marijuana can alleviate the symptoms of a severe medical condition. Growing your own marijuana in that situation may seem like a better option than supporting the black market and buying from drug dealers. Some people choose to grow marijuana because they like it and want a steady supply.
Whatever the reason, there are serious consequences in Texas for getting caught growing marijuana. Despite how popular opinion on the drug has changed in the last decade, laws on the topic have not changed as quickly. It only takes one nosy neighbor to draw the attention of law enforcement and potentially change your life forever.
Texas punishes marijuana growing like it does marijuana possession
When people learn that Texas doesn’t have separate penalties for those accused of cultivating marijuana, they sometimes incorrectly assume that Texas has a more liberal attitude toward growing marijuana. In reality, because possession penalties are relatively high, there’s no real reason to create separate laws and punishments for those who get caught growing the plant.
The way Texas assigns penalties to marijuana possession relates to the weight of the marijuana. It is easy to see how even a single well-developed plant could result in felony charges based on weight. After all, law enforcement will weigh the whole plant while it is still live and wet, which will result in a much higher overall weight than just the usable amount of marijuana growing on the plant.
The bigger the garden, the harsher the consequences
If you have just started your marijuana garden, you might get lucky. If the total weight is two ounces or less, you only face a misdemeanor that carries up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. If you have a small plant that weighs between two and four ounces, the penalty will include up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Truthfully, even a single plant could weigh well more than that four ounce cutoff.
For marijuana plants with a combined weight of between four ounces and five pounds, the charges increase to felony charges that carry between 180 days in jail (as a mandatory minimum) and two years in jail, as well as a fine of $10,000. If the total weight is between five and 50 pounds, the penalties include between a minimum of two years but up to ten years in jail, as well as a $10,000 fine.
If the total weight is between 50 and 2000 pounds, you could end up facing between two and twenty years, along with the fine. For commercial scale operations with a total plant weight of over 2,000 pounds, the jail time increases to between a minimum of five years and 99 years, as well as a fine of $50,000.
People who have been charged with possession of marijuana need to remember this fact: there are defenses to every criminal charge. They should retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.