Texas Man Faces Life Sentence Over Pot Brownies

By McCarton Ackerman 05/21/14

Jacob Lavoro could face life in prison for possessing hash oil, which can be treated as a narcotic under Texas law.

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A Texas teenager is facing the possibility of life in prison after he was caught with pot brownies and other pot paraphernalia, sparking outrage in his small-town community.

Jacob Lavoro, 19, was busted earlier this month after police in the town of Round Rock found copious amounts of pot at his apartment including several bags of marijuana, one and a half pounds of brownies, a separate pound of marijuana, digital scales, and $1,675. He was charged with a first degree felony and his sentence can range anywhere from five years to life in prison.

“Five years to life? I’m sorry. I’m a law-abiding citizen, I’m a conservative, but I’ll be damned. This is wrong. This is damn wrong,” said his father, Joe Lavoro.  “If he did something wrong, he should be punished but to the extent that makes sense. This is illogical. I’m really upset and I’m frightened. I’m frightened for my son.”

The harsh potential sentence was reportedly due to the brownies containing hash oil, which has a higher concentration of THC. Under Texas law, hash oil can be treated similarly to narcotics such as ecstasy. Because it was cooked into the brownies, police weighed his entire brownie batch and determined that he was carrying one and a half pounds of drugs.

Jack Holmes, Lavoro’s defense attorney, believes the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor because police “weighed baked goods” and not actual drugs. Jacob has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court next month, but it’s unlikely he will receive a life sentence even if convicted because he doesn’t have a prior criminal record.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.