Recreational use of any cannabis substance is illegal in Texas. In recent years, the use of medical CBD has been approved, although restrictions qualifying eligible patients are strict. At one point in time, Texas had some of the most stringent laws surrounding the possession and use of marijuana. Possession of the drug was fully banned in 1931, and any possession of the drug, regardless of the amount, was punishable as a felony with between two years to life in prison. In 1973, regulation surrounding the possession of marijuana loosened slightly, making the possession of small amounts a simple misdemeanor in the state.
Currently, the only form of medical marijuana use in Texas is in the form of low-THC cannabis oil. The approved and legal oils must contain less than 1% of THC. Further, a patient must have a doctor's prescription and approval to purchase and use the low-dose CBD oil substances. The authorization to legalize low-dose THC oil was first approved in 2015.
After a 1973 resolution to reduce the punishment for possessing and using recreational marijuana in Texas, the state's regulations became more comparable to other states in the nation. Currently, a person found with less than four ounces of marijuana is still eligible for a misdemeanor charge. If convicted, a person could face up to 180 days in jail and be forced to pay up to $2,500 in fines associated with marijuana possession.
Although technically recreational weed usage is still very illegal in Texas, many independent police departments throughout the state have issued statements claiming they will limit the enforcement of this law. The first police station to openly limit enforcement was Dallas County in 2019. In the years to follow, the Bexar County Police Department, Austin Police Department, and El Paso Police Department have also stopped enforcing these laws as much. In 2021, the Plano Police Department declared that they would no longer arrest people found with less than two ounces of marijuana, effectively decriminalizing the use of recreational marijuana in the city limits.
While efforts are underway to legalize the recreational use of weed in Texas, it may seem like an official legal resolution is a far way off. Still, efforts to expand the use of medical marijuana for eligible patients have been largely successful. A recent June 2021 law has expanded the use of medical cannabis for medical patients, including those with PTSD and all forms of cancer. The amount of approved THC allowed in medical prescriptions has increased from 0.5% to 1% concentration. Smoking marijuana, even for medically approved patients, remains illegal.