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Possible life in prison for marijuana brownies? Are Texas drug laws too harsh?

On November 11, 2014 by admin

A Round Rock, Texas man has been charged with a first Marijuana Brownies – Matthew Gallagher Houston Drug Lawyerdegree felony for allegedly making and selling marijuana brownies and cookies. Marijuana-Brownies-300x225
If convicted on that first degree felony charge he will be facing a possible punishment range of 5 years to life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system – the same punishment range a first degree murder charge in Texas carries.

According to KEYE-TV a man recently accused of murder in the same county was recently sentenced to 20 years after being convicted of murder. There is a huge difference between making and selling some marijuana brownies and cookies, and committing a  murder, yet in Texas they can carry the same penalty range unfortunately.

The mistake this Round Rock man made was using what is known as “hash oil” in the brownies and cookies in addition to marijuana.  The state of Texas does not consider “hash oil” marijuana, even though that is what it is directly derived from.  Hash comes from the flowers of a marijuana plant and contains a higher concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. In Texas possession of even the smallest amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor, while possession of even the tiniest amount of hash oil, even a gram, is a state jail felony.  Unfortunately, Texas law allows law enforcement officials to include the weight of the sugar, butter and other ingredients used to make the brownies and cookies when calculating the total weight of the hash oil.  It is this provision of Texas law which has got this man into the situation he finds himself. According to the reports he allegedly had roughly one and one half pounds of brownies and cookies in his possession at the time, which makes his possession a first degree felony punishable by 5 years to life in prison under current Texas law.

Commentary by Texas’ NORML attorney Jamie Spencer notes that this punishment range is higher than the punishment range for a sexual assault or an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  He goes on to say that “this case is the perfect example of the insanity of Texas’ drug laws … especially when it comes to marijuana or anything where the active ingredient [is] THC.”

Possessing (even with the intent to sell) one and one half pounds of brownies or cookies should not carry the same punishment range as a first degree murder.  That range of punishment should strike a reasonable person as extremely excessive, especially in the case of what is essentially simply marijuana possession.  Many today believe that society’s attitudes on marijuana use is shifting and it may be time for the Texas legislature to take heed this and consider redressing the discrepancies in punishment ranges for “hash oil” possession offenses versus marijuana possession offenses.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or charged with possession of any type of “hash oil” or any other marijuana related offense you should immediately contact criminal defense lawyer Matthew Gallagher to begin forming a solid defense against such allegations.  Matthew Gallagher can be reached by phone at (713) 893-4350 or by e-mail at [email protected].

You can find the underling news article at Austin’s KEYE-TV’s website.