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Tennessee Marijuana Laws

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated March 28, 2018

It seems like almost every state is changing their marijuana laws lately. And from medical marijuana to legalization and decriminalization, it’s not easy keeping track of which laws apply where. Not so for the Volunteer State, who has kept it simple: no pot for citizens no matter what. (Although a recent bill has permitted university-based cannabis studies.) Here is a brief summary of Tennessee’s marijuana laws as they currently stand.

Marijuana Laws in Tennessee

Marijuana possession and sale remain illegal in Tennessee even in medicinal cases. While some states have relaxed their drug laws to cover marijuana legalization and decriminalization, possession of even a small amounts of marijuana is a crime in the Tennessee, risking jail sentences and heavy fines.

Tennessee Marijuana Statutes

Pot is not treated equally by all state marijuana laws. Tennessee’s marijuana laws are highlighted in the table below.

Possession or casual exchange of: Less than .5 oz.: Class A misdemeanor and attendance at drug offender school and minimum $250 fine; Casual exchange to a minor from an adult 2 yrs. his senior and adult knows minor is a minor: felony; Subsequent offense: $500 minimum; Third: $750 minimum; Two or more prior convictions, then Class E felony; 20 plants to 99 plants: Class C felony, fined up to $100,000.

.5 oz. to 10 lbs.: Class E felony and/or $5000; 10 lbs. + 1 g. to 70 lbs.: Class D felony and/or $50,000; 70 lbs. + 1 g.: Class B felony and/or $200,000; Over 700 lbs.: Class A felony and/or $500,000; Sale to minor under 18 or in drug-free zone: one class higher than amount required; Minimum penalty amounts: 1st drug felony offense: $2000; 2nd: $2500; 3rd: $3000

Similar to Tennessee’s laws, possession and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law by way of the Controlled Substance Act. And regardless of what a state’s marijuana laws say, federal law will always supersede state law. While federal law enforcement agencies have been hesitant to intervene in most state marijuana issues thus far, the federal government hasn’t given up on enforcing restrictions on higher profile cases of pot possession, manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution.

Related Resources for Tennessee Marijuana Laws:

As noted above, state marijuana laws can change frequently. If you would like help with a substance abuse problem, the Tennessee’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services can provide drug treatment resources. For additional information and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s drug charges section.

Charged with Violating Tennessee Marijuana Laws? Get Legal Help

Your criminal record is important to your future, including for your job prospects. While federal and state marijuana laws are constantly in a state of flux, a good lawyer can help you navigate through the legal system. If you’re facing a marijuana-related crime in Tennessee, it’s in your best interest to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss the state’s drug laws and how they affect your case.

Chart providing details of Tennessee Marijuana Laws

Drug Possession – Marijuana

Many marijuana charges are written up via citation, not arrest. But it is still a serious criminal misdemeanor charge you are facing, even just for a small bag of weed.

Cops are very aggressive in writing these up, especially around the week of Bonnaroo. And criminal citations are still criminal charges that in counties including Coffee County require a court appearance with an attorney. You can’t just pay a fine and forget it. And you wouldn’t want to do so since you give up the chance to avoid a criminal record that way.

But we have helped hundreds of people over the years with these charges, and we can help you too. In many cases, we can fix these without a permanent criminal charge. Give me a call today and I’ll let you know how I can help.

Marijuana is an illegal substance and possession or marijuana, as with any controlled substance is against the law in Tennessee. While recent surveys and legislation across the country have shown that many Americans favor the decriminalization of marijuana, in Tennessee, a marijuana charge can still be and is aggressively prosecuted.

Just half an ounce of weed for your personal use is a felony charge, which can have serious penalties.

If you are facing Marijuana possession in Tennessee or more serious charges of possession with intent to distribute, we can help . We have defended many marijuana cases in the Tennessee court system and that experience can make a big difference on your side when you go to court.

You may have been caught with a small personal stash and got a criminal citation for possession. You need someone to assist you with the legalities of this relatively minor charge. However, you may be facing serious felony charges for cultivation or intent to deliver. Either way, we are here to defend you, and fight for your rights in court.

Simple Possession of Marijuana Laws & Penalties

If you are charged with simple possession or casual exchange of marijuana you will face Class A misdemeanor penalties. This means you may serve up to one year in jail and face fines up to $2,500.

If this is your second or greater conviction under this law you will face Class E felony charges which carry a potential sentence of 1-6 years and fines up to $3,000.

In addition to any jail or fines, you may be required to take a drug education class at the discretion of the judge.

Marijuana Possession with Intent to Deliver

If you are charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver, the penalties are much stiffer. How the court determines that you were “intending” to deliver the drugs is based on much more than the amount you were caught with. Things like scales, baggies, and frequent traffic from your home can all be evidence that you were intending to sell.

The penalty and charges you will face depends on the amount of marijuana in your possession at the time of the offense.

If the amount was… Then you will face…
More than 300 lbs. (Class A felony) 15-60 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
70- 300 lbs. (Class B felony) 8-30 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines.
10-70 lbs. (Class D felony) 2-12 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.
.5 oz- 10 lbs. (Class E felony) 1-6 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Can I Beat a Marijuana Possession Charge in Tennessee?

Yes, there are always legal defenses we can pursue, depending on the exact facts of your case, and what happened when you were arrested.

Did the police have a legal right to search you? You cannot be stopped or searched without a valid warrant or probable cause to do so. This applies to your car, your house or apartment, and your person. If not, then we have a fourth amendment challenge based on the laws against illegal search.

Can the police and prosecutors prove the marijuana or substance in question is actually yours? Just because something is found in your car or home doesn’t mean it belongs to you, or that you even knew it was there. It could have been left by a roommate, friend, or guest.

The prosecution must prove all these facts against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If not, you have the presumption of innocence, and should be found not guilty.

Free Consultation on Tennessee Marijuana Possession Charges

When facing any criminal drug charges in Tennessee, I know you are concerned about what could happen to you. And the truth is, for the more serious charges, you could face the frightening prospect of jail time.

But even if that isn’t a realistic fear, any charge can leave you with a permanent criminal record. Especially for a young person, the prospect of being a convicted drug criminal is potentially very damaging. That label could follow you for life, with future career opportunities lost to a dumb mistake.

We are experienced attorneys who know how to fight drug charges and win. And most importantly, we work to protect the best interests of our clients. If you are faced with a marijuana/drug charge in Tennessee, please contact us for a consultation. We’ll tell you exactly what we can to do help you fight and win against Tennessee marijuana charges. There’s no obligation for the initial consultation and legal advice.

Free Consultation

Contact our attorneys for a free legal case evaluation on any criminal charge by calling:

(888)622-1450 Receive our free legal defense consultation and case evaluation. We’ll explain what you are facing in plain language, and tell you how we can help.

Get top legal advice to fight a marijuana possession charge in Tennessee. Free legal case evaluation on marijuana drug possession in TN.