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Messina Madson & Kendall Castello, MC Criminal Law June 8, 2021

Clearing Up Confusion on Marijuana Possession in Dallas County

As more states have legalized marijuana, media reports about changes in local enforcement have caused misunderstandings about marijuana charges in Texas. To clear up any confusion, we wanted to offer some guidance and precautions.

How is possession of marijuana handled in Dallas County?

There’s no single answer to how Dallas County handles marijuana possession. The decision to arrest belongs to the police officer, and each police department makes its own decision on whether to arrest and charge an individual. Therefore, the Dallas Police Department may handle marijuana differently than Addison, Carrollton, Garland, or Irving police departments. When an arrest is reported, the District Attorney’s Office decides what it will accept and prosecute.

The Dallas County District Attorney is not accepting or prosecuting first-time misdemeanor marijuana charges. But that leaves a lot of gray area…

Things to keep in mind:

  • To avoid prosecution, the substance must be plant-based (not synthetic) marijuana, and the weight of the drug must be four ounces or less.

  • Only the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has chosen not to prosecute these cases. Should you enter one of the surrounding counties, this policy would not protect you from prosecution.

  • A Dallas County municipality (city) may still charge you with possessing drug paraphernalia. A class C ticket for paraphernalia is handled through city court, and some cities in Dallas County will pursue these charges.

  • This policy does not protect you from prosecution of a felony possession of marijuana charge.

What makes a marijuana charge a felony?

  • If the weight of the marijuana is greater than four ounces.

  • If the substance is synthetic rather than plant-based marijuana. This would include anything other than a natural, plant-based marijuana product. Gummies, dab pens, vape products, or oil are all felonies in Texas.

  • If the person is found to be selling the marijuana, and it is more than a one-fourth ounce.

What is legally purchased in Colorado may be trouble in Texas…

Most everyone knows that marijuana is illegal in Texas. But not everyone knows this critical fact: what a person can legally buy in Colorado, when carried to Texas, can become a first-degree felony possession of a controlled substance charge (punishable by five years to life in prison). Not only is marijuana illegal in Texas, but the level of the offense is based on the weight of the drugs the person possesses.

In addition, police closely monitor the highways that connect Texas with surrounding marijuana-friendly states. So you can easily get caught in speed traps that lead to unwanted vehicle searches and arrests.

Legal Representation

If you are stopped or investigated by police, know your rights. You are not legally obligated to answer any questions or agree to any searches. If arrested, you should immediately request legal representation. The importance of getting an attorney right away cannot be stressed enough. Often an experienced attorney can turn a drug arrest into an expungement through such options as pretrial diversion.

If you’ve been arrested on a marijuana possession charge, MC Criminal Law can help. Call us at 214-239-4702.


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