On July 14, 2021, KDAF-TV reported that Senate Democrats unveiled a draft bill to decriminalize marijuana nationwide. The bill, introduced Wednesday by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, stops short of legalizing sales in all states but ends federal enforcement. It also aims to provide justice to minorities. Senate Democrats said it was time to end the war on marijuana.
“In 2019, there were more marijuana arrested than all other violent crimes combined and the majority of those were for simple possession,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The legislation would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list and give cannabis businesses access to banking, as well as regulate and tax marijuana sales.
“Revenue generated through legalizing cannabis would go directly to support restoration in the lives of those most harmed by the war on drugs as well as public health and safety,” said Wyden.
Democrats like Sen. Schumer say outdated federal laws impact people of color the most by making it “tougher to get a job, tougher to get credit, tougher to live a normal life.” The proposal would expunge the records of people with non-violent marijuana convictions, allow those currently serving time to be re-sentenced and provide grants to minority entrepreneurs who want to open marijuana businesses.
Luke Niforatos with Smart Approaches to Marijuana says decriminalizing marijuana will be harmful. “It’s invested in by tobacco, alcohol and pharma — the drug is much more potent and much more addictive than it’s ever been,” Niforatos said.
Back on June 15, 2021, KTVT-TV reported that officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas said a messaging app helped them make a dent in the drug trade and was crucial in the arrest of nine alleged members of the “Hogg Life” gang. The defendants, who were indicted June 9, have been charged with an array of federal crimes.
When the suspects were arrested on June 11 officials say they found a variety of drugs including bulk marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and oxycontin at the separate locations.
The seizure of those drugs, guns and nearly $20,000 in cash followed the execution of a search warrant served in May, when law enforcement seized more than 125 pounds of bulk marijuana, THC products, and psilocybin products, and more than $63,000 in cash.
The investigation began in 2018, when multiple anonymous callers reported interstate drug trafficking to the Amarillo Police Department. At least one tipster indicated that the alleged traffickers regularly posted about their illicit dealings on Snapchat.
In 2020, a cooperating defendant told police that a group calling itself “Hogg Life,: a Crips gang, trafficked in marijuana. The person said dealers in Texas mailed money to a supplier in California in exchanged for drugs, which were shipped to them through the Postal Service and FedEx. The witness also confirmed that the operation was facilitated through Snapchat and identified several dealers’ accounts.
The government infiltrated the group when an undercover agent posing as a buyer initiated Snapchat conversations with drug dealers in Amarillo. Videos and images captured from their accounts show the cultivation, packaging, and advertisement of large quantities of marijuana, mushrooms, and other THC products.
The local “Hogg Life” gang members allegedly sold marijuana and THC products with their own brand name, “No Boof.” Both the supplier and the dealer allegedly flaunted their drug proceeds, frequently posting about luxury travel and dining, exotic vehicles, designer clothing and jewelry, and adult entertainment. If convicted, the defendants face up to 40 years in prison.
The Selma Times-Journal reported on June 27, 2021, that four Dallas County organizations arrested 14 suspects in a drug sting that lasted two weeks. The SAFE Task Force, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office — Selma Police Department, the Drug Task Force, the state tactical team all participated in the drug operation. Sixteen grams of marijuana, five grams of heroin and fentanyl and 50 grams of cocaine, several guns and cash were found.
Two suspects, Mary Jean Strong and Steven Fitts, were both arrested at the the 2200 block of Hardy Avenue. Strong, 59, was charged with trafficking heroin/fentanyl, drug paraphernalia, two counts of distribution of controlled substance, possession of controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. She remains in the Dallas County Jail with a bond over $1.5 million.
Fitts, 27, was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and second-degree receiving stolen property. He was released on $37,000 bond. Since Mike Granthum became Dallas County Sheriff over 2 1/2 years ago, the DCSO has made 412 drug arrests
On July 1, 2021, KTVT reported that shoe prints leading away from the Rio Grande led Texas border patrol agents to a large amount of abandoned drugs again. Within only an hour, Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol (RGV) agents seized more than $400,000 worth of marijuana illegally smuggled into the United States.
On June 28, Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station (RGC) agents working east of Rio Grande City found two abandoned bundles of marijuana. It weighed 23 pounds and is valued at more than $18,000. The drugs were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Then RGV agents working near the community of Refugio, located in Rio Grande City, saw some people running north from the Rio Grande. Upon agents identifying themselves to the smugglers, they abandoned their cargo and absconded back to the river. Agents seized seven bundles of marijuana that weighed more than 240 pounds and is valued at more than $384K.
If you are arrested for marijuana possession in many Texas communities, state law dictates the following penalties. Possession of two ounces or less is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000, possession of more than two ounces but less than four ounces is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000, possession of more than four ounces is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, possession of more than 50 pounds is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, and possession of more than 2,000 pounds is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine up to $50,000.
When it comes to marijuana delivery, marijuana distribution, or possession of marijuana with the intent to sell possession of a quarter-ounce or less without receiving payment for the delivery is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine up to $2,000, delivery of a quarter-ounce or less with receipt of payment for the delivery is a Class A misdemeanorpunishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $4,000, delivery of five pounds or less but more than a quarter-ounce is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine up to $10,000, delivery of 50 pounds or less, but more than five pounds is a second-degree felony punishable by 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000, and delivery of more than 50 pounds is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
The criminal charges police departments will always be most likely to pursue are cases involving marijuana trafficking. For these offenses, all of the same state penalties for delivery of marijuana are applicable, but there can also be the increased chances of federal charges when trafficking rings exceed county or state lines. Certain federal offenses are punishable by decades in prison and possibly millions of dollars in fines.
Illegal search and seizure is a common defense against many marijuana charges in the Dallas area, because police officers often seize marijuana through illegal searches of people’s persons or property. You need to be quick to seek qualified legal representation for yourself if you have been accused of any kind of marijuana crime in North Texas.
Were you recently arrested in the greater Dallas area for any kind of a marijuana crime. You will want to get The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy on your side as soon as possible so you can have the strongest possible defense against the criminal charges.
Our firm understands the tremendous stress that comes with facing any kind of criminal charges, and we will actively fight to minimize the damage that your marijuana arrest creates for you now and into the future. You can have us look at your case and discuss all of your legal options with you when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online for a free consultation.