Texas Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in Texas?

No. It is illegal to mail weed anywhere in the US without permission. According to federal law, weed is a Schedule I controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and severe physical or psychological dependence. Consequently, no state law takes precedence over federal law. In addition, recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Texas.

The United States Postal service is bound by federal regulations and is prohibited from accepting packages containing marijuana. Private courier services, including DHL and FedEX, must also comply with federal law. These third-party companies may open packages without a warrant if there is enough reason to suspect that they contain cannabis. In addition, the company may report the sender or intended receiver to federal authorities.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in Texas?

According to a Resource Guide published by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the penalties for transporting edibles across state lines vary according to several factors. Some of these include the quantity of weed involved, whether or not it's a first offense, and if the offense involved death or injury. The following penalties apply:

For instance, persons trafficking up to 50 kg of cannabis are liable to a minimum of 5 years in jail and up to $250,000.00 for an individual, or $1,000,000.00 if not an individual. This penalty only applies to a first-time offender. A second offense attracts a minimum of 10 years in jail and $500,000.00 in fines for an individual, or $2,000,000.00 otherwise.

For a first offense, persons trafficking more than 50 kg but less than 99kg, or over 10 kg of hashish, are liable to a minimum of 20 years in jail and a $1,000,000.00 fine for an individual, or $5,000,000.00 if not an individual. A second offense raises the fine to a possible $10,000,000.00 and up to 30 years in jail.

Texas residents should note that these penalties may worsen depending on the specifics of the crime. For instance, a second offense involving at least 1,000 kilograms sees offenders facing 20 years to life and up to $75,000,000.00 in fines.

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in Texas

There are several defenses accused persons may employ to beat drug trafficking charges in Texas. Some commonly-used methods include:

  • Police Misconduct: Accused persons may get charges dismissed if they can prove police misconduct. While law enforcement may pursue leads and investigate crimes, officers should not infringe on an individual’s constitutional rights. For instance, all searches and seizures without a search warrant are unlawful. A court might dismiss the case if the evidence was obtained illegally.
  • Lack of Knowledge: The defense can prove that the accused had no knowledge of the drugs and was not knowingly transporting them. The prosecution must prove otherwise or risk losing the case.
  • Entrapment: The defense can establish that a law enforcement agent coerced or induced the accused into committing the crime. This may hold especially if the defense can prove that the accused would not have committed the crime otherwise.
  • Lack of Intent: The court may dismiss a drug trafficking charge if the accused can prove that there was no intention to sell, deliver, or otherwise traffic the drugs. However, this may only reduce the charge to drug possession.
  • Plea Deal: An offender may use this method where the prosecutor’s case is airtight. The prosecution can reduce or completely dismiss the charges If the offender offers good information.

Drug trafficking attracts several kinds of penalties depending on the severity of the crime. Penalties for drugs other than marijuana may be more or less severe depending on factors like quantity and drug type.

Drug Trafficking Facts in Texas

The Texas Controlled Substances Act classifies controlled substances into four penalty groups used to determine sanctions for criminal drug offenses. According to Texas Health and Safety Code 481.112 and 481.115, a person is guilty of drug trafficking if they knowingly manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to deliver, any of the controlled substances listed in Penalty Groups I to IV.

Prosecutors sometimes increase possession charges to trafficking depending on the evidence found on the accused. Law enforcement may consider certain quantities sufficient for a trafficking charge even if the drugs were not being transported. The presence of paraphernalia such as scales and plastic bags may contribute to a trafficking charge.

Most drug trafficking offenses are considered felonies in Texas. However, an offense may be a misdemeanor if the trafficking involves a small amount of a Penalty Group IV controlled substance.

Drug trafficking is a first-degree felony when it involves the following:

  • Over 400 grams of a Penalty IV drug
  • Between 200 grams and 400 grams of a Penalty Group III drug
  • Between 4 grams and 400 grams of a Penalty Group II drug
  • Between 4 and 4,000 units of drugs in Penalty Groups I and I-A

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for enforcing drug laws in the state. Several police departments and sheriff’s offices also ensure compliance with drug laws and apprehend offenders. At the federal level, the DEA investigates and handles drug violations.

According to a 2020 Fiscal Year Report published by the United States Sentencing Commission, three Texas districts were in the top 5 for drug trafficking offenders. The Western(894), Northern (631), and Southern (623) districts were the second, third, and fourth, respectively.

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in Texas?

According to Texas law, selling a “usable quantity” of marijuana is enough for a trafficking charge. Section 481.121 of the Texas Health and Safety Code states that trafficking 7 grams of marijuana or less attracts a 180-day jail sentence and a $2,000.00 fine. Trafficking between 7 grams and 5 pounds is a felony punishable by a jail sentence of up to 1 year in addition to a $4,000.00 fine. Also, regardless of the quantity, selling weed to a minor is a felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in jail and a $20,000.00 fine.

Residents should note that penalties may vary between jurisdictions. For instance, the Harris County District Attorney may not prosecute persons arrested with up to 4 ounces of weed if the person agrees to take a drug education class.

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in Texas?

The Texas Controlled Substances Act states that importing or delivering marijuana is a crime in the state. According to Section 481.120, trafficking up to 7 grams is a Class B misdemeanor if the person received no payment, and a Class A misdemeanor if the person received payment. A Class A misdemeanor attracts up to 1 year in jail, a fine less than $4,000.00, or both, while a Class B misdemeanor attracts a maximum of 180 days in jail, a $2,000.00 fine, or both.

If the amount is more than 7 grams but up to 5 pounds, the offender faces a state jail felony charge punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 and 180 days to 2 years in jail. Offenders trafficking over 5 pounds but not more than 50 pounds face a second-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 and 2 to 20 years in jail. Furthermore, selling or delivering any quantity of marijuana to a child or someone in secondary school is a second-degree criminal offense (Section 481.122).

A first-degree felony involves marijuana more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds, and is punishable by 5 years to life in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.00. Any quantity more than 2,000 pounds attracts 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.00.

How to Transport Weed Legally in Texas

Texas limits marijuana use and transportation for select medical purposes. Marijuana is only legal for use under the Compassionate Use Program, which allows qualified physicians to prescribe low-THC cannabis to patients suffering from certain conditions. According to Texas Occupations Code Section 169.003, qualifying conditions include:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • A seizure disorder
  • Cancer
  • Autism
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • An incurable neurodegenerative disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral

As of August 2022, only three marijuana companies have licenses to produce or sell medical marijuana under the Compassionate Use Program.