- About Us
- Community Guidelines

Advertising on BOR
- Advertise on BOR


We're Counting On You.

Burnt Orange Report is redeveloping our website for the first time in almost a decade.

We're counting on your support to continue providing you free and frequent coverage of progressive issues that matter to Texans.

Help us build a website that is as great as the content we publish on it.

Texas Teen Facing Up to Life in Prison For Pot Brownies

by: Joe Deshotel

Sat May 24, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

While many states have already legalized medical use of cannabis and 2 have moved to legalize it for recreational purposes, the supposedly small government loving state of Texas is still firmly under the spell of "reefer madness."

A Williamson County teenager now faces a sentence of 5 years to life for hash brownies. Even though 19 year old Jacob Lavoro is a first time offender the fact that his recipe included hash oil instead of plant matter raises the level of offense from a misdemeanor to a first degree felony.

That is because when weighing the substance authorities don't just include the weight of the hash oil but the entire weight of the brownies including: flower, chocolate, eggs, etc. That means Lavoro is being charged with having 1.4lbs of hash brownies instead of the mere few grams of hash oil he used.

See the Williamson County DA's explanation below the jump...

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. - Williamson Co. Assistant DA Mark Brunner

Brunner seems to be OK with that explanation saying later in an official statement that, "unless the law changes, we will continue to prosecute such cases."

Lavoro was released on a $30,000 bond and his father was dumbfounded by the charges. "It's outrageous, it's crazy! I don't understand it...Five years to life? I'm sorry, I'm a law-abiding citizen. I'm a conservative. I love my country. I'm a Vietnam veteran, but ... this is wrong!" he told KEYE TV in Austin.

Williamson County's approach is wrong, and that was highlighted in a 2013 report by the Department of Justice commissioned by Attorney General Eric Holder called "Smart on Crime." It found that,

"The preliminary results of this review suggest a need for a significant change in our approach to enforcing the nation's laws. Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. However, many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it.

The reality is, while the aggressive enforcement of federal criminal statutes remains necessary, we cannot prosecute our way to becoming a safer nation. "

The study even singled out Texas. "In recent years, states such as Texas and Arkansas have reduced their prison populations by pioneering approaches that seek alternatives to incarceration for people convicted of low-level, nonviolent drug offenses."

Forbes reports that Brunner is aware that Lavoro "may be eligible for a term of community supervision (probation) not to exceed ten years." So, let's hope the folks in the Williamson County DA's office are listening and that they stop the madness.

You can follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

Copyright Burnt Orange Report, all rights reserved.
Do not republish without express written permission.

Tags: , , , , , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

Hash Oil (0.00 / 0)
Williamson County apparently didn't get the memo.  

Amazon Referrals
Buying Back-to-School Books?

Use BOR's Amazon Referral and we'll receive a share of your purchase, at no cost to you!

Click here to shop.

Connect With BOR

2014 Texas Elections
Follow BOR for who's in, who's out, and who's up.

Candidate Tracker:
-- Statewide Races
-- Congressional Races
-- State Senate Races
-- State Rep. Races
-- SBOE Races
-- Austin City Council

Click here for all 2014 Elections coverage


Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

Texas Blue Pages

Texas Blue Pages
A career network for progressives.


Shared On Facebook

Burnt Orange Reporters
Editor and Publisher:
Katherine Haenschen

Senior Staff Writers:
Genevieve Cato
Joe Deshotel
Ben Sherman

Staff Writers:
Omar Araiza
Emily Cadik
Phillip Martin
Natalie San Luis
Katie Singh
Joseph Vogas

Byron LaMasters

Blogger Emeritus:
Karl-Thomas Musselman

Read staff bios here.

Traffic Ratings
- Alexa Rating
- Quantcast Ratings

Powered by: SoapBlox