With recreational marijuana now legal in four states and medical marijuana now legal in more than 20 states, one would think that baking a pan of pot brownies wouldn't be such a big deal, right? Wrong, if you live in the state of Texas.
Under Texas law, the entire pan of brownies can be considered drugs if they were made with hash oil, which can lead to some extremely harsh penalties.
For example, back in 2014, a Texas teen faced up to life in prison for baking brownies that contained THC or hash oil.
Police weighed the brownies, pan included, and charged the teen with possessing nearly 1.5 lbs of marijuana, with the intent to sell. This is considered a first-degree penalty under Texas law, which is punishable by 10 years to life in prison.
Apparently, the Williamson County prosecutor admitted that there was a total of just 2.5 grams of THC in the brownies, which is the same as less than a half-ounce of high quality marijuana, according to the rules provided by marijuana regulators in Colorado.
In Texas, possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less is a misdemeanor penalized by up to 180 days in jail. But it didn't matter.
Because hash oil contains a higher concentration of THC than a regular marijuana leaf, stricter penalties are imposed for possessing or distributing it.
Even if the hash oil is diluted -- say, with other brownie ingredients like butter, flour and eggs -- police are still allowed to charge based on the entire weight of the drug concoction.
Luckily, the teen was smart enough to hire a criminal defense lawyer, who worked to have the charges reduced. In the end, the first-degree felony drug charge was dropped. However, the story drew national attention and the teen's dad even appeared on "Good Morning America."
The moral here is two-fold: First, never make brownies with hash oil in Texas. Second, if you find yourself in trouble with the law, call a defense lawyer immediately. Even if you don't think what you did is that big of a deal, the law may disagree.