Bexar County prohibits cannabis cultivation for recreational use. SB 140, introduced by Senator Roland Gutierrez, would allow Texans over the age of 21 to cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants at home for recreational use if signed into law. However, the bill is still pending in the state senate. SB 140 would require that the home cultivation of cannabis occurs in enclosed and safe locations which are not accessible to minors and cannot be viewed except by the use of visual aids.
Note that dispensary organizations in Bexar County are authorized to produce cannabis for medical marijuana purposes pursuant to the Texas Compassionate Use Act. Persons caught illegally cultivating cannabis in Bexar County will face penalties such as jail terms and fines depending on the amount of cannabis found in possession of the offenders. For repeated offenders, jail terms may be up to 100 years while fines may reach $50,000.
Bexar County prohibits the manufacturing of cannabis for recreational uses. However, licensed dispensary organizations may manufacture cannabis products for the use of registered medical marijuana patients. Also, if SB 140 is signed into law, Bexar County adult residents may process cannabis on their properties under Section 491.051 (a)(4) of the bill, provided that no more than 12 cannabis plants are processed on the premises at one time. SB 140 defines cannabis processing as the separation or preparation of cannabis plant components, as well as the blending, compounding, extracting, infusing, or manufacturing of cannabis concentrates or cannabis products. Pursuant to SB 140, cannabis manufacturing will only be permitted in Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)-approved facilities and in locations away from public areas.
Retail sales of recreational cannabis are illegal in Bexar County. On the other hand, licensed dispensary organizations are permitted to sell medical cannabis to patients enrolled in the Texas Compassionate Use Registry (CURT). Per Texas law, medical cannabis dispensaries operating in Bexar County must verify the registrations and prescriptions of medical cannabis patients via the CURT before selling medical cannabis to them. Texas law prescribes stringent penalties for medical cannabis dispensaries selling medical cannabis to unregistered persons.
Bexar County prohibits the delivery of adult-use cannabis. However, medical marijuana dispensaries can deliver medicinal marijuana to registered patients. Persons caught illegally delivering cannabis face harsh penalties under Section 481.120 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The punishment for this infraction is determined by the amount of cannabis found in the possession of the offender.
Unlike many states in the United States, Texas does not issue physical medical marijuana (MMJ) cards to medical cannabis patients. Still, the state permits patients looking to use medical marijuana pursuant to the Texas Compassionate Use Act. However, such persons must suffer from one of a number of qualifying conditions. Qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana in Texas include:
The first step in being certified to use medical marijuana in Bexar County is to schedule an appointment with a doctor to ascertain that the individual will benefit from low-THC medical cannabis. The physician will also verify that the risk involved in using medical cannabis to treat or manage the medical conditions does not outweigh the benefit associated with using medical cannabis. Once the doctor has completed the review process and deems the patient qualified to use medical cannabis, the individual will be registered with the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas (CURT). The CURT was established to permit qualified doctors to register and prescribe medical cannabis to eligible patients suffering from specific conditions. Per Texas regulation, the CURT is always available to doctors and dispensing organizations; hence, medical cannabis dispensaries can validate the registrations and prescriptions of consumers who visit to fill their prescriptions.
Registering on the CURT requires that patients be aged 18 or older and be permanent residents of the state. While there are currently no provisions for caregivers under the Texas Compassionate Use Program (CUP), individuals under 18 may still participate in the CUP through the help of their legal guardians or parents. Note that there are no fees required in registering on the CURT. By registering with the CURT, medical cannabis patients can legally possess and use low-THC cannabis.
The impact of the legalization of medical cannabis on the economy of Bexar County is currently insignificant as recreational cannabis has not been legalized and the county imposes no tax on medicinal cannabis sales. However, if SB 140 is passed into law, cannabis establishments will be required to impose a 10% tax on cannabis and cannabis products. However, according to a publication by Vicente Sederberg LLP, a top-ranked cannabis law and policy company in the United States, the cannabis industry in the state will create about 40,000 direct jobs if adult-use cannabis is legalized. According to the research, Texas could generate more than $1 billion in income per annum and roughly $10 million in license and license renewal fees each year.
In a 2019 - 2020 mid-term report published by the Bexar County District Attorney (D.A.), law enforcement agencies in the county filed more than 60,000 marijuana and other drug-related cases in 2018 and 2019. Minor drug possession charges were the most often filed cases. In May of 2019, the Bexar County District Attorney (D.A.) announced a Marijuana Declination policy to fight violent crime.
Under that policy, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office will not prosecute possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana unless the defendant poses a threat to the community. As a consequence of this and other regulations, the D.A. 's Office reduced the number of Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession charges filed in 2018 to almost none in 2020. Possession of less than 1 gram of a prohibited drug is now the most common charge filed with the D.A.'s Office, accounting for roughly 20% of all felony files received by law enforcement.
Many of these possession charges involve trace amounts of controlled substances. To free up felony prosecutors and personnel to concentrate on violent crimes, the D.A. enacted a policy requiring Assistant D.A.s to decline prosecution in controlled drug cases involving prohibited substances weighing less than 0.25 grams unless the offender represents a risk to the community. In 2018, the District Attorney's Office recorded 2,041 cases related to charges of possessing less than 1 gram of a Group 1 controlled drug. Total case number was cut to 1,153 in 2020 due to the revised declination policy.
According to the Uniform Crime Reporting system, DUI arrest figures obtained from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office indicated similar rates between 2016 and 2019. Bexar County recorded 999, 1,036, 1,110, and 1,090 DUI arrest rates in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The county recorded much lower DUI arrests in 2020 with 523 arrests.