In honor of the recent month of April, I thought I would discuss the continuous
and ever growing relationship between
marijuana and the government.
Starting as early as 1913, states began passing anti-marijuana laws. Ironically,
California was the first state to pioneer this path. And, now, while seventeen
states possess medical marijuana statutes, Texas holds firm in its strict
ban against the Schedule 1 narcotic.
So what is the history behind the current penalties against the most popular
drug of choice to our nation's teenagers? In 1956, the Narcotic Control
Act was responsible for imposing a minimum, mandatory sentence on a marijuana
first offense. A charge of possession of marijuana would place an individual
in prison for 2 to 10 years. The government was committed to putting an
end to the use of marijuana. But, despite the propaganda, marijuana use
increased in popularity among the youth across the nation. Marijuana was
a part of pop culture.
From the 1960's to the 1970's the amount of Americans reportedly
using marijuana had increased by the millions. The harsh penalties implemented
over marijuana use did not seem to be effective. In response, the Controlled
Substances Act abolished the mandatory minimums, yet continued to discourage
and prosecute marijuana use. Marijuana was still considered a "schedule
1" drug because of the potential for abuse, alongside heroin and MDMA.
Fast forwarding to the present, an individual in possession of any amount
of marijuana within the Texas borders may serve jail time. Even with the
frequent rap song and casual television reference, current penalties in
this state range from B misdemeanors to felonies punishable up to 99 years.
In what seems to be a growing popularity and acceptance, the use of marijuana
is still a crime and very much pursued by the authorities. The penalties
an individual may be subjected to are far more inconvenient than the task
of abiding by law. The notorious relationship between marijuana and the
government has lasted many years and the fight continues.
Below is an outline of the possession of marijuana penalties in Texas:
2 oz or less = class B misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail and/or $2000
2 to 4 oz = class A misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in jail and/or $4000
More than 4 oz to 5 lbs = state jail felony punishable by 6 months to 2
years and/or $10,000
5 to 50 lbs = felony of the third degree punishable by 2-10 years and/or $10,000
50 to 2,000 lbs = felony of the second degree punishable by 2-20 years
More than 2,000 lbs = felony of the first degree punishable by 5-99 years