Is it just us, or is every corner of Austin popping up with a new cannabis shop? Across the country, attitudes surrounding weed are growing more relaxed. Local policies have rapidly changed, too, making it tricky to always know where current laws stand.
At Chris Perri Law, an Austin-based criminal defense law firm, we’re often asked about marijuana legality. This article aims to provide clarity on Austin’s present-day cannabis policies. Keep in mind this information is accurate as of November 2023, however the rules are ever-changing.
Is Weed Legal in Austin?
Technically, possessing any marijuana plant is illegal according to federal and state law. That said, Austin prosecutors and local law enforcement have set a policy to forgo pressing charges for small amounts of marijuana plant possession (less than 4 ounces). Thus, personal amounts of weed have essentially been decriminalized throughout Travis County. At worst, you may get a ticket for having a joint, but it’s unlikely you’ll go to jail. This new policy does not legalize cannabis, meaning you can’t freely buy it in stores.
In the past few years, certain cannabis products have become legal in Austin. These include CBD, Delta-8 THC, and most recently, some Delta-9 THC products.
CBD, Delta-8 THC, and Delta-9 THC Legality Explained
About five years ago, a law passed allowing hemp products to be bought and sold throughout Texas. This law defines hemp as any cannabis product that contains 0.3% or less of Delta-9 THC, which is the chemical in cannabis that gets people high.
Soon after, CBD hit the market. Delta-8 THC products came next. More recently, stores in Austin have begun selling Delta-9 THC products – which are even stronger – thanks to a legal loophole which you can read about here.
All cannabis products sold legally in Travis County stores are required to adhere to the rule of containing 0.3% or less of Delta-9 THC. This is a contested legal area, however, with some officials fighting to explicitly outlaw Delta-8 and Delta-9 THC products, while others advocate to expand marijuana legalization.
Possessing Large Amounts of Marijuana and Most THC Products Is Still a Felony
If you’re caught possessing 4 ounces or more of the marijuana plant, Austin prosecutors may still press charges, as this amount is considered beyond personal use and is a serious felony-level crime.
It’s also important to understand that if you possess any “altered” version of cannabis that wasn’t bought legally in a local store that ensures products contain 0.3% Delta-9 THC or less, then you are likely in possession of a controlled substance, which is also a felony. Altered products include homemade weed brownies, ganja butter, THC oils, those candies you bought while skiing in Colorado, and more—basically anything beyond the plant.
Medical Marijuana Is the Exception
Texas allows some individuals to possess marijuana for medical purposes under the Compassionate Use Program. Purchasing cannabis through a licensed dispensary with an approved doctor’s prescription is within the law.
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Austin, call Chris Perri Law at 512-269-0260 today.
Legal experts explain the details on weed restrictions, legal quantiles, and product variants in the capital city. Read More