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Knox County criminal defense attorney drug charges

Drug use often begins as a party tool at a young age and quickly transitions into full force addiction as time goes by. As of late, Tennessee’s district attorneys general have recognized the danger of fentanyl along with its recent resurgence in popularity, and are taking action to educate teens about this illegal substance. Because some controlled substances are more potent and dangerous than others, Tennessee divides these drugs into categories known as schedules, each of which increases in the severity of charge and consequence. Since many teens are unaware of the physical and legal consequences of fentanyl, a high number of Tennessee minors are getting involved with this substance and facing criminal drug charges as a result.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is steadily climbing its way to becoming the most dangerous drug in America. The United States has seen a significant rise in opioid usage, known as the opioid epidemic, and Tennessee is no exception. According to a report in The Tennessean, over 9,100 people in Tennessee have died of drug overdoses between 2013 and 2018, and over 70 percent of these deaths were partially caused by opioids, including fentanyl. 

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Anderson County drug crimes attorney marijuana

Many states have made the transition to legalize marijuana in one form or another. States such as Colorado have taken a more liberal approach, legalizing all forms of the drug, while others only allow their residents to consume the drugs for medical purposes. Tennessee is one of the most conservative states when it comes to cannabis, with all forms remaining illegal. The state divides drugs into categories known as schedules, and marijuana is a Schedule I drug. Substances that fall under this schedule are always illegal, even medically. In order to legalize marijuana in any form, it would need to be moved to a lower category, thus decriminalizing it. Although this may seem out of reach, Tennessee lawmakers may be taking steps in this direction, which would change how drug crimes are charged in the state.

A Groundbreaking Bill

Many states have recognized the benefits of legalizing marijuana for those who need it medically. By allowing citizens to obtain a medical marijuana card after receiving a doctor’s prescription, they can purchase cannabis to be used for health purposes. In early March, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill in the state Senate to legalize medical marijuana with existent restrictions. If enacted into law, the bill would allow Tennesseans to legally purchase cannabis lotions, oils, and pills for medical use with a doctor’s approval. However, vapes, edibles, and joints would not be considered a legal form for medical purposes.

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Union County drug charges defense attorney

State policies regarding marijuana have been under deliberation throughout the United States for the past decade. With many states legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use, Tennessee is one of the few states that has made little progress on the matter, aside from its farming population. In 2018, the hemp growing industry was legalized federally, meaning licensed farmers can grow this crop. Opening up this industry to Tennessee farmers has made the state one of the leading producers in the country. According to a USA Today report, Tennessee has seen a 1,581 percent increase of hemp farmers throughout the state, with 3,800 registered growers as of November 1, 2019. These farmers are licensed to grow up to 51,000 acres of hemp throughout Tennessee, which equates to approximately 10 percent of all of the licensed acreage in the United States. New federal regulations have been released for those participating in the 2020 planting season, and with Tennessee’s high percentage of participation, it is important that state farmers and consumers understand the rules being established to avoid facing drug charges.

Details of the Regulations

On Oct. 31, 2019, the USDA released draft regulations that apply to hemp farmers nationwide. These changes focus specifically on the testing protocols used for the crop. Farmers may be able to grow the same plant that produces marijuana; however, regulations remain in place to limit the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in the plant. THC is the psychoactive component found in hemp that causes the “high” that legislators continue to ban in Tennessee. According to these recent regulations, farmers will be deemed negligent if the THC content present in their crops reaches 0.5 percent, since the legal limit is 0.3 percent. If these crops continue to reach higher levels of concentration for multiple years, the grower risks having his or her license suspended. These “draft rules” will act as a guide for the 2020 growing season, and the final rules will be established in November 2021.

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Anderson County drug crimes defense attorney

Drug charges are very common throughout the United States, and Tennessee is no exception. With 80 percent of Tennessee crimes being related to drugs, the state takes drug charges seriously for all offenders. Like all other crimes, those involving drugs are measured on a scale depending on the situation. In other words, some drugs and actions lead to harsher consequences than others. The public may be warned against drug use; however, the legal consequences for controlled substances are not always explained well. This can leave many people unprepared when facing drug charges.

Tennessee Drug Schedules

Controlled substances, also known as drugs, have different levels of effects, making some more dangerous than others. The government analyzes these “danger levels” and creates a hierarchy of charges. This list of controlled substances and their consequences are known as "drug schedules." The federal government classifies all controlled substances into categories to create general drug schedules; however, states often adjust these schedules. Tennessee has seven schedules that rank these substances, with the most serious drugs in the first schedule:

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Knoxville, TN drug crimes defense attorney

Laws regarding cannabis, or marijuana, have changed dramatically from state to state. States like Colorado were at the forefront of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana usage, whereas some states consider all forms of this drug’s use illegal. Tennessee lawmakers received a proposal in April of 2019 that formulated a plan to legalize and regulate medical marijuana in that state.

The bill, known as the Tennessee Agricultural Medicine Act, would have allowed for the issuing of licenses to medical marijuana businesses and registration cards to patients. A medical diagnosis would have been required for patients to purchase the drug, and these patients would have been added to a registry that is accessible by law enforcement officers. Not all forms of marijuana would have been legal to Tennessee residents. Patients would have been allowed to consume the drug in an edible form or through “vaping;” however, smoking marijuana would have remained illegal. Despite many other states’ legalization of cannabis, the Tennessee bill did not have enough support to pass and is being delayed until 2020.

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