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Understanding the Drug Laws in Texas

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Did you know that out of all arrests that are made in the United States, 26% of them are related to drugs?

The war on drugs has been rough over the last few decades. The year 2020 provided some relief with this due to the pandemic, but before that, there were over 1.5 million arrests per year for drugs.

Texas is arguably one of the most active states when it comes to this, given its size and location near the nation’s border. Drug laws in the state reflect this, and if you are a casual user of any illegal drugs, you need to understand the consequences of doing so in Texas.

So, what drug laws in Texas should you be aware of? How strict are these drug laws?

Here is your guide to understanding the drug laws in Texas.

Marijuana Laws

One of the main drugs that an ordinary citizen may run into in Texas is marijuana. This also happens to be the drug that results in the most arrests. Marijuana makes up 11% of all arrests in the United States, and before 2020, there were over 500,000 people in the country getting arrested for possession of marijuana every year.

So, how does this play out in Texas if you get caught with this drug? The two biggest factors with this are if you are caught with possession or trying to sell it and how much marijuana you have on you at the time of the arrest.


Let’s start with the distribution side of the law. It is a Class B misdemeanor if you have 1/4 of an ounce or less. That results in a maximum fine of $2,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 180 days. It moves up to a Class A misdemeanor if you receive remuneration for it. Those maximum penalties are a $4,000 fine and one year in prison.

Any weight ranging from over 1/4 of an ounce to five pounds is considered a state jail felony. That results in a minimum jail sentence of 180 days but can be up to two years. The maximum fine for this is $10,000.

Weight that ranges from five pounds to 50 pounds is a second-degree felony. The prison time for this felony ranges from two years to 20 years, with the maximum fine being $10,000.

The next weight range is by far the biggest, with this being from 50 pounds to 2,000 pounds. The prison time here also has a big range from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 99 years. Like the other felonies, the maximum fine is $10,000.

Finally, you have any weight that is above 2,000 pounds. This has a minimum of a 10-year prison sentence with the maximum time being 99 years. However, the maximum fine goes up significantly to $100,000.


The above is what happens when you are caught delivering marijuana to others. Now, you will find out if you simply get caught in possession of marijuana.

Weight ranges are slightly different because these cater more to individuals than wholesale packages. It is a Class B misdemeanor if you get caught with two or fewer ounces, and it is a Class A misdemeanor if you get caught with 2-4 ounces.

You start to hit the felony level once you go above four ounces. From four ounces to five pounds, it is considered a state jail felony. Then, five pounds to 50 pounds is considered a third-degree felony. Anything from 50 pounds to 2,000 pounds is considered a second-degree felony.

Finally, anything above 2,000 pounds can receive a maximum penalty of five years to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Heroin and Cocaine

These are two other drugs that tend to cause a problem with addicts in the United States. Before the pandemic, drug arrests in this category were actually on the rise. The only years that had over 300,000 possession arrests were from 2017 to 2019.

Both of these drugs are considered to be in Penalty Group 1 in Texas. This is the group that has the harshest punishments and the least arguable medical use.


Like marijuana, the penalties for this and possession depend on how much weight you are caught with. This is when you are manufacturing and selling drugs to other people.

Getting caught distributing one gram or less is automatically considered a state jail felony. It moves up to a third-degree felony if the weight is between one and four grams.

If you are caught distributing anything more than four grams, you are looking at potential life in prison. However, minimum prison time and maximum fines still differ based on weight, even in this class.

Anything from four grams to 200 grams carries a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000. From 200 to 400 grams, you are looking at at least 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000.

If you have 400 grams or more, the minimum prison sentence is 20 years, and the maximum fine is $500,000.


While possession is generally more lenient than distribution, you are still looking at a state jail felony if you even get caught with one gram.

It is a third-degree felony if you are caught with 1-4 grams. From 4-200 grams, it is considered a second-degree felony in Texas. Then, it is considered a first-degree felony if you are caught with 200-400 grams.

Finally, if you are caught with more than 400 grams, you are looking at a prison sentence of anywhere between 10-99 years and a maximum fine of $100,000.

Be Aware of Drug Laws

Obviously, there are more drug laws to be aware of that fit other drug categories. But, considering these are some of the most highly used drugs in the country, these are some that you should be aware of.

If you get caught with possession or distribution of a drug, find a good attorney for drug use to fight for your case as soon as possible.

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