Texas Man No Longer Faces Life in Prison for Pot Brownies
Prosecutors have dropped first-degree felony charges against Jacob Lavoro, the Round Rock teenager who faced life in prison for running a small-time edibles operation.
Lavoro's case made national headlines in May after Round Rock police caught the 19-year-old with about a pound and a half of marijuana edibles, a container of THC, $1,600 in cash and an apparent client list.
Police had claimed Lavoro was running a low-level edibles operation, charging him with felony possession with intent to deliver, which carries a prison term between five and 99 years, a.k.a. life, in prison.
Unfortunately for Lavoro, in Texas, charges related to edibles are not decided by the amount of actual marijuana or hash oil baked into the goods, but rather the weight of the total item -- in this case, one and a half pounds -- which meant it was perfectly legal for authorities to charge him with a first-degree felony for what was actually a very small amount of cannabis.
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UConn Huskies College Football
TicketsThu., Sep. 29, 11:00am
Battle of the Piney Woods: SFA vs. SHSU
TicketsSat., Oct. 1, 3:00pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
Texas also treats offenses involving cannabis concentrates, regardless of THC content, much more severely than offenses involving the actual marijuana plant, which is part of the reason that the weight of the edibles, rather than the actual hash oil content, is what the charges were based on.
So for one and a half pounds of pot brownies, Lavoro faced a first-degree felony and possible life in prison. Pro-marijuana groups like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project called for the "shocking" and "excessive" charges to be dropped, and protests at both the Round Rock courthouse and at the statehouse in Austin were being staged regularly. But Williamson County prosecutors on the case refused to budge -- until this week.
Lavoro still faces two lesser felony charges -- a second-degree felony for possession of hash oil and a state jail felony for marijuana possession. If convicted, Lavoro could get anywhere from probation to 20 years in prison.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.