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Texas Hemp Law Complicates Prosecution of Marijuana Crimes

Texas Governor Gregg Abbot signed House Bill 1325 on June 10, 2019, making hemp and hemp-based products (e.g. CBD and fabrics) legal to grow and sell throughout the state. The Texas Department of Agriculture will oversee the cultivation process, while the Texas Department of Health and Human Services will manage the processing stage.

However, district attorneys in several counties have temporarily stopped prosecuting marijuana crimes—and even dismissed some cases—since local and state crime labs do not have the proper testing equipment to determine the presence of THC, the component that causes a high. Currently, the technology can only detect the presence of cannabinoids.

Now, the cannabis is defined as a plant that contains over 0.3 percent of THC, which means anything less is considered hemp. Since most Texas crime labs cannot measure the amount of THC in the plant, police departments cannot tell the difference between hemp and pot.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot understands the interpretation of the new hemp law and the fact that THC concentration is required to find a person guilty of a marijuana crime.

District attorneys in four other counties have stopped prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases altogether.

In Tarrant County, the district attorney dismissed 234 marijuana-related misdemeanors and stated lab results showing THC are required in all cases in the future. In Harris County, 26 marijuana-related misdemeanors were dismissed.

However, a few counties including El Paso and Galveston will continue to handle marijuana cases based on circumstantial evidence, such as the look or smell of cannabis.

State laboratory officials claim that testing equipment would be available within six months to a year.

If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in Dallas, it is possible to avoid a conviction with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. For more information, contact the Law Offices of Robert Gregg today at (214) 891-7536 and request a free case evaluation.

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