Although moves to decriminalize marijuana have met with some success in other states, those convicted of possessing the drug in Texas can still face severe penalties. One Round Rock teenager is facing a particularly harsh sentence if he is convicted on charges of making and selling pot brownies: he could get up to 99 years in prison.
The 19-year-old Round Rock teen was charged with possession of 1.5 pounds of the drug, after a neighbor claimed to smell marijuana coming from his apartment and called police. When cops entered the young man's apartment, they allegedly found the brownies. The young man was accused of selling the brownies for $25 apiece. The possession charge is a first-degree felony. The brownies allegedly contained hash oil, which is more powerful than typical marijuana, and increases the severity of the alleged crime.
About a hundred people showed up at the courthouse to show their support for the teenager when he arrived for a recent pre-trial hearing. The supporters sold t-shirts, carried signs and called for marijuana to be decriminalized.
The teen's attorney is apparently putting up an aggressive defense. He argues the case should be dismissed because officers illegally entered the young man's apartment. According to the attorney, the officers failed to identify themselves as cops before gaining entry to the teen's home.
There are a number of potential defenses that can be raised in drug possession cases. As in this case, the accused can argue that authorities acted illegally in conducting the search that led to discovery of the drugs. If this defense is successful, the evidence that was seized can be excluded from evidence at trial. Without the drugs in evidence, the prosecution's case will typically fall apart.
Source: NBC-2.com, "Teen facing 99 years for pot brownies heads to court," June 20, 2014