Although marijuana laws are changing in many states, Tennessee still prohibits the drug both recreationally and medicinally. Since marijuana is illegal, the sale, possession, or use of it remains a criminal law violation. To learn more about the state's position regarding legalization as well as the penalties for possession and sale of the drug, consult the guide that follows.
Where Tennessee Stands on Legalization
Surveys show that 81% of Tennesseans support marijuana legalization to some extent, with 37% of those respondents advocating for its full legalization, including for recreational use. Just 16% of Tennessee residents think marijuana should remain illegal.
The progressive attitude of residents toward marijuana use is not shared by state lawmakers, however. Only a handful of state senators and representatives support medical marijuana legalization, and even fewer support legalization for personal consumption. Before Governor Bill Lee took office in 2018, he expressed skepticism about the medical benefits of marijuana use.
Because marijuana is still regarded as a controlled substance in Tennessee, it’s a criminal offense to sell or possess it. Criminal laws for possession or a "casual exchange" of the drug classify possession of less than 0.5 ounces as a class A misdemeanor that punishes offenders with mandatory attendance at drug offender school and a fine of at least $250. If the recipient of a casual exchange is a minor at least two years younger than the drug provider, the offense is a felony. In either a misdemeanor or felony scenario, multiple offenses have steeper penalties.
For selling marijuana, punishments are considerably harsher. Any sales above 0.5 ounces are felonies, with the severity of the offense increasing with increases in weight. The minimum penalty for a felony drug offense is a $2,000, $2,500, or $3,000 fine for a first, second, or third offense.
If you're facing drug charges for marijuana, a criminal law attorney will help safeguard your rights. Kevin R. Bryant Attorney at Law offers legal services to clients throughout the Cumberland County, TN, region. He provides representation in criminal law cases, DUIs, divorces, child custody disputes, and personal injury claims. Call (931) 787-1004 to schedule a consultation, or go online to learn more about the firm’s approach to defending clients.