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Serious Charges For Cannabis Use

Updated: Thursday, August 7 2014, 09:55 PM CDT
Jacob Lavoro is facing life in prison for allegedly making and selling pot brownies.  As unique as his case may be, he's not alone.  Many people may find themselves soon facing felony charges, for what they think is just a little marijuana.
 
The stack of nearly a quarter million signatures outside the Williamson County courthouse speaks volumes about how many people are opposed to the charges facing Lavoro.  Those supporters however may have more to write about.
 
Kevin Vasquez was just charged with a state jail felony for hash oil possession.  Hash oil comes from the blooms of the marijuana plant. 
 
According to an arrest affidavit it was not a measurable amount. However because it was hash oil, Vasquez could go to prison.  Texas NORML legal counsel Jamie Spencer explains why.
 
"Up to 4 ounces of marijuana, which is quite a bit, is still a misdemeanor in Texas.  But any amount of hash oil is a felony, a state jail felony.”
 
More people may face that state jail felony.  A growing number of people are using what are called "vape" pens to get high.  "Vape" pens are usually used as an alternative to cigarettes.  Marijuana smokers use hash oil in "vape" pens to get high.
 
Drug expert, Mike Gimbel contends that's a problem.   "What you're smoking is a higher THC content pot. It’s the strongest pot you can buy."
 
Spencer argues that should not matter.  “Hash is somewhat more potent than marijuana, but take alcohol for example. Vodka is 10 to 20 times more potent than standard American beer and yet we don't put people in jail for drinking a beer.  We don't send them to prison for drinking a gin and tonic.”
 
While the debate continues, the law stands.  Hash oil, no matter how little, will get you a felony.
 
Texas lawmakers are noticing the shifts in opinions on marijuana. Several state senators say we should expect to see bills this upcoming legislative session about marijuana.  They will range from legal medical marijuana use, to reduced charges for marijuana possession. 
 
By Melanie LoftonSerious Charges For Cannabis Use


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