THC drug busts on the rise in the Panhandle area - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

THC drug busts on the rise in the Panhandle area

     With the decriminalization of marijuana in nearby states, the transport of it across the Panhandle area has shot up. Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety say THC-related drug busts are actually becoming more common across the Panhandle.  

THC is a chemical derived from marijuana. But getting caught possessing one or the other could mean the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony.

"Once they take that marijuana and extract the THC, they've manipulated that," explained DPS Spokesman Trooper Chris Ray. "It's not in its natural form and it becomes a controlled substance."

Possession of a controlled substance automatically means a first degree felony charge or even second degree felony depending on how much it weighs.

"The weight of the brownie also goes in to how much the substance weighs and therefore, it's the whole weight of the cookie," added Potter County District Attorney Randall Sims. "Not just the weight the little amount of THC that's in it."

Cookies, brownies, jams - all products that can now be sold legally nearby, but are getting folks in trouble with Texas law when they try to smuggle it through.

"We're called the flyover state politically," said Sims. "But now the states that haven't legalized it are called the 'drive-through' states."

Officials say chemicals like THC are much stronger once extracted, which is why it's even more important to crack down on offenders.

"We work with Colorado authorities to see what's being sold there," said Trooper Ray. "It's coming in candy. Halloween, somebody gives out the wrong piece of candy and some kid gets that piece of candy that has the THC in it and has the wrong reaction, it could be fatal."

The penalty for first degree felonies can range anywhere from five to 99 years, or even life in the prison.

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