By 2017, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form or another. Eight of those states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and possession of marijuana for personal use. The remaining states passed laws allowing marijuana to be prescribed by a physician for medicinal purposes. To date, the State of Tennessee is not among the states that have legalized marijuana.
Consequently, the possession, sale, cultivation, and transport of marijuana remains a criminal offense in Tennessee. Interestingly, both the cities of Nashville and Memphis passed legislation in 2016 that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana; however, state legislators quickly passed a bill that repealed those laws and it was signed by the Governor just seven months after the attempt at decriminalization.
To help you understand the current marijuana laws in Tennessee, the criminal defense attorneys at Bennett| Michael | Hornsby have put together some helpful information.
Marijuana Laws in Tennessee
The possession, sale, cultivation, and transport of marijuana remains a criminal offense in Tennessee.
If you have questions or concerns about marijuana related criminal offenses contact our criminal defense lawyers.
Basics of Marijuana Laws in Tennessee
Marijuana remains a scheduled controlled substance in the State of Tennessee. Classified as a Scheduled VI controlled substance.
Marijuana Fact and Figures for Tennessee
- There were 23,184 arrests for marijuana offenses in Tennessee in 2007, representing an arrest rate of 377 per 100,000, ranking Tennessee number 11 in the nation.
- By 2012, the number of marijuana related arrests was 23,488, indicating a very insignificant change.
- In terms of overall severity of maximum sentences for marijuana possession, Tennessee ranks number19 in the nation based on penalties for a first offense.
- Approximately 80 % of all marijuana related arrests are for possession.
- Marijuana arrests also accounted for 53% of all drug arrests in 2007
Possession of Marijuana
- Tennessee Code 39-17-418 governs simple possession or casual exchange
- It is illegal to “knowingly possess or casually exchange a controlled substance”
- It is illegal to “distribute a small amount of marijuana not in excess of one-half (½) ounce (14.175 grams).”
- Charged as a Class A misdemeanor
- Carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail
- May also be required to complete drug offender school, if available, or may be required to perform community service work at a drug or alcohol rehabilitation or treatment center.
- Can be enhanced to a Class E felony if the exchange was made by an adult to a minor
- Class E Felony carries a maximum of two years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
Manufacturing, Delivering, Selling Marijuana
- Tennessee Code 39-17-417 governs the manufacture, delivery, or sale of a controlled substance making it illegal to manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell marijuana in Tennessee.
- One-half (1/2) ounce to 10 pounds is charged as a Class E Felony
- 10 to 70 pounds is charged as a Class D Felony
- 10 to 19 marijuana plants is charged as a Class D Felony
- 20 to 99 marijuana plants is charged as a Class C Felony
- 70 to 300 pounds of marijuana is charged as a Class B Felony
- 100 to 499 marijuana plants is Charged as a Class B Felony
- 300 pounds or more of marijuana is charged as a Class A Felony
- 500 or more marijuana plants is charged as a Class A felony
Penalties for Manufacturing, Delivering or Selling Marijuana
- A Class E Felony carries up to 6years in prison and/or up to a $3,000 fine
- A Class D Felony carries up to 12 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine
- A Class C Felony carries up to 15 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine
- A Class B Felony carries up to 30 years in prison and/or up to a $25,000 fine
- A Class A Felony carries up to 60 years in prison and/or up to a $50,000 fine
If you have additional questions or concerns about marijuana related criminal offenses in the State of Tennessee, please feel free to contact the criminal defense lawyers at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.
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