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What the Changing Landscape of Marijuana Legalization Means for Texans

a man partaking in recreational marijuana consumptionOur country is constantly changing. Take the legalization of marijuana, for example. Many states throughout the country have legalized marijuana for recreational and/or medical use. The entire West Coast, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine have legalized recreational and medical marijuana. A larger number of states have only legalized medical marijuana. This is particularly pertinent for Texas residents since medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The state of Texas is flanked on all sides by states where medical marijuana is legal, meaning that issues relating to drug possession may arise for residents, especially those who live in cities that border legalized marijuana states. Just because marijuana is legal in any certain state doesn’t mean the substance is legal across the entire nation. Marijuana is still a controlled substance on the federal level and, as such, possession or distribution can lead to fines and jail time in state or federal court.

The Blurring of the Lines: Legalizing Marijuana for Medical and Recreational Use

States where marijuana is legal for both recreational and medical use are the most lenient when it comes to marijuana consumption. All you need is to be 21 years or older and have a state-issued identification card (driver’s license or passport). Medical marijuana is a whole other ballpark, however. A state-issued medical marijuana ID is necessary so unless you live in a medical marijuana state, you will not be able to qualify for a medical marijuana card.

Marijuana is Still a Controlled Substance on the Federal Level

Let’s look at the city of El Paso. As the westernmost city in Texas, El Paso is closer to Las Cruces, New Mexico than any major Texas city. As such, many New Mexicans work or study in El Paso. If a New Mexican with a medical marijuana card travels to El Paso with marijuana in her possession, she may very well face drug possession charges in state court or possibly trafficking charges at the federal level. Again, this has to do with Texas and the federal government’s stance on marijuana.

How Marijuana Legalization Affects Texas Residents

Now, let’s shift our focus to another potential scenario. Since marijuana is completely legal in nearby states such as Colorado or Nevada, Texas residents may visit those states to purchase and partake in marijuana consumption. They don’t need to live in the state in order to consume the drug. Let’s say you go on a road trip to Colorado and you purchase marijuana. If you leave marijuana in your car or on your person when you drive back home to Texas, you will be at risk of facing fines and perhaps jail time in relation to possession in Texas.

The Importance of Hiring a Drug Possession Lawyer

If you’re facing issues relating to marijuana possession, Joseph Law, PLLC can help. We understand the complexities and confusion that arise when it comes to marijuana possession. As complicated as the changing landscape of marijuana consumption has become, your record shouldn’t be tarnished by a simple mistake. Contact Joseph Law, PLLC today so we can get to work on your case.


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