Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. In Alaska, adults 21 and older can now transport, buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants. Oregon voters approved a similar measure allowing adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public and 8 ounces in their homes. Colorado and Washington previously passed similar ballot measures legalizing marijuana in 2012.
A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Most recently, Delaware passed legislation that decriminalizes the private use of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing penalties with a civil fine.
Other states have passed medical marijuana laws allowing for limited use of cannabis. Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with types of medical conditions that allow for treatment varying from state to state. Others states have passed laws allowing residents to possess cannabis oil if they suffer from certain medical illnesses. Most recently, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law legalizing the possession of up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil.
In Texas, possession of even a tiny amount of marijuana can land you in jail; in fact, anything less than 2 ounces carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. But penalties are even more serious for possessing concentrates such as hash oil, which is charged as a felony and can result in up to two years in state prison. Some court districts in Texas have drug diversion programs that allow certain first-time offenders to complete a rehabilitation program instead of serving a prison sentence.
The sale of just 7 grams (roughly one-quarter ounce) of cannabis also carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and a possible $2,000 fine. But selling more than 50 pounds of the herb (a felony) can land you in prison for 99 years, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Selling any amount of marijuana to a minor is a felony, with a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Do you agree or disagree with the state’s marijuana laws? Is it time for Texas to join the states that have legalized marijuana or at least decriminalized it? Tell the class what you think about the issue and the basis of your opinion.
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