In recent years, the push to re-legalize marijuana and/or to make medical marijuana legal, has swept the nation. As of 2015, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and several of those states have even made recreational marijuana use legal as well. The State of Tennessee, however, is not one of those states. If you are arrested for possession of marijuana you need to know what the punishment for possession of marijuana in Tennessee is so you have some idea what potential sentence you are looking at if convicted.
In the State of Tennessee it matters how much you have in your possession as well as whether you have been convicted of a similar offense before when determining your potential punishment for conviction of possession of marijuana. For a first offense with less than ½ an ounce you will be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to one year in jail and up to a $250 fine. A second offense for less than ½ an ounce is also a misdemeanor and also carries up to a year in jail. The only difference is that the potential fine is increased to $500 for a second offense. Possession of a ½ ounce or less for a third time, however, bumps up the charge to a felony and carries with it a potential term of imprisonment of up to six years and a fine of up to $1,000.
Tennessee considers possession of more than a ½ ounce of marijuana to be possession with the intent to sell in most cases, despite the fact that many marijuana users purchase large quantities for personal use. As such, the potential penalties for a conviction increase noticeably if you have more than ½ ounce in your possession. Possession with the intent to sell of more than ½ ounce but less than 10 pounds is a felony and carries 1-6 years in prison and fine of up to $5,000 if convicted. Possession with the intent to sell of 10-70 pounds is also a felony that could land you in prison for 2-12 years and a fine of up to $5,000. Possession of 70-300 pounds will get you 8-30 years in prison and a $200,000 fine while over 300 pounds carries 15-60 years and up to a $500,000 fine. Previous convictions for possession or sale of marijuana or another controlled substance will cause the potential penalties to increase if convicted.
If you have been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.