AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) – A Texas teenager is facing life in prison after being accused of making and selling brownies laced with marijuana and hash oil.
Jacob Lavoro, 19, spent three weeks in jail after police say they found the drugs in his apartment. Lavoro admitted to police he bought the marijuana, then baked and sold each brownie for $25, according to court documents.
Williamson County prosecutors want to charge Lavoro with first-degree felony drug charges because they say he refined marijuana leaves into concentrated oil.
“I can’t see past this right now,” Lavoro said. “And if it comes out to be a first degree felony chances of me being able to succeed with my goals are slim.”
Prosecutors also say, under state law, anything mixed with hash oil counts for potential charges. The oil has higher concentrations of the psychoactive component of the marijuana. It’s in a penalty group with amphetamines and ecstasy.
“I don’t believe he’s guilty to the point of this,” Lavoro’s father, Joe, said. “I’m afraid. I’m frightened for this kid, for our family.”
Lavoro has picked up several supporters and his story has gained national attention. Many believe even if he is found guilty, the punishment should not be this severe.
A Facebook page was created and an online fund has raised more than $4,000 to help with expenses, including the $3,000 it cost to bail Jacob out of jail.
Mark Brunner, the assistant district attorney in Williamson County, released a statement that reads in part:
“As prosecutors we are bound by what the law is, not what the law should be or could be.
In Texas possession of THC oil is illegal, whether it is sitting in a tiny jar on the shelf or baked into a big batch of brownies, it is illegal…period.
Unless the law changes, we will continue to prosecute such cases.”
Lavoro and his father say the hardest part is the thought of Jacob spending time behind bars for this while other criminals accused of more violent crimes sometimes get less of a punishment.
Jamie Spencer and the organization Texas NORML want to legalize and tax pot. Aside from the extra ingredients in brownies, Spencer says the hash or marijuana oil bumps up the charge here. It’s more potent the pot on its own.
“Let’s contrast that with alcohol. Vodka is ten times as strong as beer and we’re not putting people in jail or prison for drinking beer or for possessing vodka,” Spencer said.
Court documents say police believe Jacob had nearly $1,700, the cookies and brownies, and more than a pound of pot when they searched.
“What I believe is this, is that my son is a good kid who doesn’t deserve to have his life ruined for any reason at all. Political, to set an example,” said Jacob’s father.
Lavoro is scheduled to make his first court appearance next month.