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Taking a Cannabis Vacation to Colorado?

Colorado voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the year 2014, and to say the least, the business aspect of this decision has been a resounding success. “Cannabis tourism” has become a lucrative business, and the legal sale of marijuana topped $1 billion in 2015, just one year after the ban was lifted. Many people are taking vacations to Colorado in order to not only take in the sights, but partake in recreational marijuana use under legal circumstances. While this may be legal, it’s against the law to bring any of the marijuana you purchase back to the Lone Star State, and those who do could face serious legal repercussions.

Attorney D. Chris Hesse recently discussed this topic in an article written in The Defender, a magazine published by the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association. In it, he discussed some of the consequences of marijuana offenses under Texas criminal law, and how so many people are now being caught with increased raids and drug busts.

How Are Police Catching Those Bringing Cannabis Into Texas?

Texas doesn’t actually share a border with Colorado, but the only thing that separates the two is an extremely small stretch of about 35 miles in the Oklahoma panhandle. This makes the route that goes through the Amarillo and Dalhart areas extremely appealing, particularly for those heading for the Dallas or Fort Worth area. Officers have become particularly proficient at catching those bringing marijuana over state lines into Texas, an offense which can carry serious consequences.

Penalty Levels for Cannabis Offenses

Cannabis offenses can cross the entire spectrum of the Texas law in terms of offense classification. Class C misdemeanors are considered fine-only offenses, while first-degree felonies could face anywhere from five to 99 years in prison or between two and 10 years on probation. Possession of cannabis can range anywhere from a Class B misdemeanor to a first degree felony—there is no such thing as a Class C misdemeanor charge for cannabis possession. However, possession of drug paraphernalia could be cited as a Class C offense.

Generally, marijuana offenses are classified based on the amount of marijuana you’re found with and your intent in possessing it. For example, if officers can reasonably suspect that you were in possession of marijuana with the intent of selling it (or “delivery” in legal terms), your penalties will increase and you’ll face more serious charges. In other words, don’t buy a stockpile of marijuana in Colorado with the intention of bringing it back and then selling it to all your friends.

Likewise, possessing hash oils, edibles, or waxes, which contain a much higher concentration of THC, is considered a more serious offense than possessing leafy marijuana. Possessing any amount of these processed forms of the drug is at minimum a state jail felony in Texas, with more than just four grams being a second degree felony. For comparison: one marijuana cookie, a popular edible brought back by cannabis tourists, usually weighs roughly 30 grams or so. Possessing a dozen of them could amount to a first degree felony.

So if you’re planning on taking a trip to enjoy cannabis in Colorado, you’re more than welcome to do so. In fact, the industry has proven to be almost as lucrative as that of craft beer. However, no matter your feelings on whether or not the substance should be legalized in Texas, make sure you enjoy what you purchase before leaving Colorado or else you could find yourself in a huge world of trouble.

If you find yourself facing charges of drug possession, contact the Law Offices of D. Chris Hesse today at (806) 686-2142 and request a consultation!
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