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What is Tennessee’s Legal Stance on Marijuana?

Posted on in Drug Crimes

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.

Marijuana Charges in Tennessee

There are three common drug-related charges in Tennessee, each of which depends on the amount of cannabis a person has in his or her possession: 

  1. Simple Possession, Casual Exchange: This drug charge is the lowest drug offense in Tennessee. If an individual has up to .5 ounces of cannabis on him or her, he or she qualifies for this offense. Those charged with simple possession face a Class A misdemeanor. This can result in up to one year in prison and fines of up to $2,500.

  2. Possession With Intent: If a person is found with .5 ounces to 10 pounds of cannabis, he or she will be charged with possession with intent. This means that the large amount of drugs that he or she has in his or her possession could be for more than just personal use. Those found with this quantity of cannabis can suffer from felony charge consequences, such as loss of voting and firearm privileges, high fines, exclusion from certain types of occupations, probation, and imprisonment. 

  3. Sale of a Controlled Substance: Any sale of any amount of a controlled substance is classified as a felony in Tennessee. A police officer must witness a drug sale to make this charge. Sentencing depends on a variety of factors, such as the quantity of the sale and the seller’s criminal history.

Contact a Knoxville Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Drug charges are taken very seriously in the state of Tennessee. The use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes continues to be illegal, and the consequences of possession can be harsh. At the law firm of Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Lawyer, we work to ensure that a single drug charge does not determine your future life path. If you have been charged with any of the above-mentioned drug crimes, contact our experienced Knox County criminal defense attorneys at 865-281-1000 for a free consultation. 

Sources: 

https://discoveryplace.info/legal/drug-laws-tennessee/

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/health/2019/04/12/medical-marijuana-bill-tennessee-dead/3413872002/

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