How You Can Get Life for Hash Brownies in Texas

KTRK-TVKTRK-TVTo understand why hash brownies could send a Texas teenager to prison for the rest of his life, you need to understand how one kind of drug-war idiocy compounds another. Texas law treats possession and distribution of cannabis concentrates much more severely than possession and distribution of marijuana buds, and the difference in penalties is greater than the difference in THC levels. Worse, the legally cognizable weight of "hash oil" includes "any adulterants or dilutants." In a statement issued today, Williamson County prosecutor Mark Brunner explains what that means in the context of cannabis-infused baked goods:

If I take 1 gram of hash oil and mix it (dilute it) into 500 grams of brownie mix, eggs, water, vegetable oil, etc., I now have 501 grams of a controlled substance. Not 1 gram, but 501 grams. I have taken a low-level felony and made it into a first degree felony.

In Texas, if it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court that someone manufactured, delivered or possessed with the intent to deliver hash oil—including any adulterants or dilutants—in an amount of more than 400 grams, then that person can face anywhere from 10 years to 99 years or life in prison or they may be eligible for a term of community supervision (probation) not to exceed ten years.

Hence the potential life sentence for 19-year-old Jacob Lavoro, who was arrested in April after police found one-and-a-half pounds of hash brownies and cookies, plus additional marijuana and hash oil, in his apartment. It all makes complete nonsense now. 

Back in 1993, I considered the utterly irrational consequences of pretending drugs weigh more than they do. The practice of including carrier weight when charging people with distribution of LSD can be especially devastating, and it played a role in the life sentence received by Timothy Tyler.

[Thanks to Steve Gibson for the tip.]

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  • poloniusium||

    including any adulterants or dilutants

    Wow, I didn't think the government could make flour a schedule 1 substance.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    See:
    LSD, Paper weight.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    In my dreams there is a future where American society looks back at the WoD and it's evil outgrowths with the same disbelieving repugnance that it treats chattel slavery.

  • Duke||

    Do Libertarians dream of electric Kool Aid?

  • Invisible Finger||

    Modern Americans think slavery is A-OK as long as capitalists don't do it.

    IOW, it's the "chattel" part they don't like, but the "slavery" part they love now more than ever.

  • SlV||

    Weigh the car when Officer K-9 barks that he smells "shake" in the carpet. Think of all the multi-ton busts the cops can make.

  • JW||

    Fucking hell.

    How could this be happening in Texas? I have it on good authority that Texas is so fucking AWESOME.

  • Agammamon||

    In most way it is - but like any place, that's very dependent on avoiding the cops.

  • JW||

    I honestly don't doubt it, it's a consideration of a place to leave MD for, but the state-based jingoism wears thin.

    The state is actually a good reflection on modern conservatism: good on some things, backwards fucking medieval apes on others.

  • Hyperion||

    Texas is awesome, but we don't take too kindly to none them thar long harred potheads round here!

  • Lord at War||

  • ||

    REGION WAR 4 EVAR

  • Sudden||

    We non-Texans on HnR didn't start this war. Any California thread is us talking about how much we wish we could escape this misgoverned shit hole. The Texans continue to advise us that Californians are not welcome there.

    Ya, we'll sneak in our potshots (YSWIDT) when we get the chance.

  • Christophe||

    Libertarians are very welcome in NH.

    http://freestateproject.org/. Just saying...

  • UnCivilServant||

    What are you going to do about all the Massholes crossing the border to vote?

  • Agammamon||

    What are you going to do about the snow 7 months out of the year?

  • SlV||

    That's 6 months, 3 weeks and 4 days too much snow.

  • Duke||

    How could this be happening in Texas? I have it on good authority that Texas is so fucking AWESOME.

    Dude, the Texas stance on alcohol and drugs is no joke. I worked on a case once when I was in school where a guy had been charged with his third DUI in Denton. He faced LIFE in prison. He had hurt nobody on any of the three convictions. But still faced life in prison.

  • Cytotoxic||

    On topic: Uruguay is waiving all taxes on MJ production and sale to undercut black market Paraguayan pot. I'd say this puts them ahead of CO an WA.

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....7Z20140519

  • Hyperion||

    Good grief, is there anything that Paraguay won't make a knockoff of? They have their own fake versions of Pepsie and Coke fer Chrissake.

    The weed is probably fake, it's probably some parsley and scrub brush of some kind, seriously, it's freakin Paraguay.

  • poloniusium||

    Can't marijuana be scrub brush?

  • Hyperion||

    Can't marijuana be scrub brush?

    If you buy it from a Paraguayan, it could probably be anything, except for marijuana.

  • Hyperion||

    If they buyer of the Paraguayan weed is lucky, maybe there is some cilantro in the mix.

  • poloniusium||

    Oregano! I'm allergic to oregano!

  • Duke||

  • Duke||

  • Invisible Finger||

    Is Uruguay a knock off of Paraguay?

  • SlV||

    I'd say this puts them ahead of CO an WA.

    Not so long as they require a government-issued pot smoking license.

  • Humberto Brenes||

    You have to have a government ID in WA and CO too, your objection is ignorant.

  • Hyperion||

    We really aren't much more enlightened than we were during the days of dungeons and the rack, are we? Have we even some that far since we were monkeys not even walking upright yet?

    Proglodytes and SoCons are like two equal and opposite forces of extreme stupid in a constant battle to out stupid the other.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    If I may suggest - the statist variety of SoCon tend to statist-ify on drugs and porn, and maybe there's say, two others I haven't thought of.

    The progs tend to be statist on everything.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You are wrong. We do not have to guess what areas SoCons would invite the state into, we can just look at the times they often laud, before the mean old Warren Court stepped in and liberals ushered in secular cultural relativism among the masses. So we're talking about Blue Laws restricting commerce on the Sabbath, laws restricting not only abortion but contraception, obscenity laws, laws regulating sexual behavior (adultery, 'fornication', sodomy), laws mandating official led prayer in school and other governmental places, etc.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno. That's fifty plus years ago, and those were often Democrats. Not to say that today's social conservatives wouldn't do their own harm in power, but it's the 21st century for them, too, despite current leftist views.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "and those were often Democrats"

    Which were not some mutually exclusive category for SoCons back then.

  • Lord at War||

    Another "Botardesque comment.

    The remaining "blue laws" tend to be in the Northeast.

  • DenverJay||

    Shit, come visit the hole I am living in now; it is called Oklahoma, and it is like stepping through the worm hole to a 1950's with cell phones. Oh how I miss being able to buy microbrews... or liquor past 9PM or on Sunday...
    Not really all that bad a place I guess, but definitely in the Bible Belt, and definitely still full of Blue Laws.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Right, I notice the Lord offered no citation for his claim.

  • Humberto Brenes||

    Neither did you for yours. And you didn't refute his claims either.

    So, do you really want to play that card?

  • Sudden||

    We really aren't much more enlightened than we were during the days of dungeons and the rack, are we?

    If you consider for a moment the sheer glee people feel over the prospect of admittedly horrible criminals getting repeatedly ass-raped in prison by well-endowed cellies, no, I'd say we're not.

    Say what you will about the brutality of Medieval torture devices, but at least mostly they included the merciful release of death after some time. 99% of the population in this country thinks justice requires that any violent or sexual criminal spend every day of his life having his anus torn asunder by fellow inmates.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Proglodytes and SoCons are like two equal and opposite forces

    I see it more as a factional dispute within the same ideology rather than two distinct entities. Which is what makes it so vicious. They have all the same impulses, methods, and rationals, just different visions of what the national prison should finally look like when it's completed.

  • Sudden||

    I see it more as a factional dispute within the same ideology rather than two distinct entities

    So basically the same sort of distinction without a difference that communism and fascism/nazism had going on.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    HnR has not been good for my blood pressure today.

  • Hyperion||

    When it is ever good for one's BP?

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Today has seemed.. worse than normal. Plus I was away from the computer and read like 8 articles in a row, which is an automatic sanity-roll right off the bat.

  • poloniusium||

    Near constant nut punches.

  • ||

    Back in 1993, I considered the utterly irrational consequences of pretending drugs weigh more than they do

    These are not even remotely irrational or unintended consequences. This is exactly what the crafters of this law wanted to happen. Draconian punishments for non-violent non-coercive "crimes" are sin punishments and meant to be as harsh as the law maker can get away with.

  • Hyperion||

    Does anyone else remember the sensationalized stories on local TV stations back in the 70s and 80s, like '6 marijuana plants seized, with a street value of 1.5 million dollars!'.

  • ||

    I remember the first time I saw a news story about a pot plant bust, and they showed them weighing the plants...with all the dirt still on the roots. Nice little WTF?!? wakeup call about the drug war and the police. Lies upon lies.

  • JW||

    Every day, the state makes more and more of anarchist than it did the day before.

    "Fuck the king state."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wait, hash browns are a controlled substance? Crap, I ate some this morning with my eggs.

  • Pathogen||

    And you're going to jail...

  • Pro Libertate||

    But potatoes! No one told me! Ketchup, too?

  • Pathogen||

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I feel like Smeagol and the fish.

  • PACW||

    If you're putting ketchup on your hashbrowns you are suspect. . . . if you are putting it on your eggs you deserve to be behind bars.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Eggs? Never. That's what hot sauce is for.

  • DC_36||

    The method of determining the "weight" is simply so ridiculous, seems like one *should* be able to challenge that on some solid ground related to 8A - "the punishment must fit the crime".

  • prolefeed||

    How could this be happening in Texas? I have it on good authority that Texas is so fucking AWESOME.

    Texas law (and law enforcement) is like Austin weather -- a hodgepodge mixture of great and fucking crazy.

    The same state with no state income tax and right to work laws throws crazy shit like this at people. And Williamson county for this bust? That's basically north Austin, where half the populace gets baked regularly.

  • The Lost Ampersand||

    "Basically" is a stretch. The vast majority of WillCo represents the quiet little socially conservative side of the seething Austin tumor. Trust me, I grew up there.

    Though this kind of shit depresses the hell out of me, it comes as no big surprise. A WillCo cop gave me a $300 ticket for "exhibition of acceleration" (read: burning rubber). A WillCo cop pointed a gun at me for playing airsoft with my friends in my parents' backyard when I was 17. A WillCo cop murdered my 12-year-old sister 24 years ago.

    Williamson County--not being quite trapped in the ravenous progressive whirlpool that is Austin--has its advantages. But take it from me, kids, you do NOT want to get caught on the wrong end of their justice system.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Texas . The new Turkey.

  • ||

    If I take 1 gram of hash oil and mix it (dilute it) into 500 grams of brownie mix, eggs, water, vegetable oil, etc., I now have 501 grams of a controlled substance. Not 1 gram, but 501 grams.

    Budget math is not just for budgets anymore.

  • Kure'i||

    I recently had a client who beat a victim with a baseball bat, and another who was a 17 year old kid who got caught with an ecstasy pill in his bag at school. Both faced 10 year felonies, though in one case, someone was seriously injured, and in the other, someone may have had a good time.

    Roughly equal crimes, deserving the same punishments? I think not. The drug laws are a travesty. Having a pill only equals Assault with Intent to Commit Great Bodily Harm (Less than Murder) in Bizarro world. Or In the minds of legislators, which may be the same thing.

    (Incidentally, I got the assault case dismissed. But the kid ended up with two years probation.)

  • Invisible Finger||

    The state can find uses for a head basher, what use is a high teenager to the state?

  • Harisbb||

    Nice recipe. But poor guy, when will they understand that alcohol is more dangerous...

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