Yes. In fact, state laws make minimal distinctions between marijuana, also referred to as weed, pot, or cannabis, and heroin (both are considered Schedule I drugs). Additionally, the charges you will face for a first-time, possession-based drug crime depend on your intention and the amount of drugs you were carrying at the time of arrest, not on the type of drug(s) you possessed.
For marijuana or any other drug, a first-time possession offense is considered a misdemeanor and punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and up to 1 year in jail, unless you are carrying half an ounce or more of the substance. If you are arrested for a second offense, or you violated any other drug laws, you could be charged with a felony.
What About Medical Marijuana?
Last year (2019), a 68-page long amendment to Tennessee drug laws was put on hold due to a lack of support. The bill, dubbed the Tennessee Agricultural Medicine Act, would have legalized and regulated medical marijuana in the state, but the proposal was never formally introduced.
Lawmakers hope to tackle marijuana legislation again in 2020, but for now, medical marijuana is illegal in Tennessee.
Is Hemp Legal?
Yes. Hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) are already legal throughout the state, thanks to the Hemp Farming Act and the federal 2018 Farm Bill. Sometimes, however, these products, which look and smell similar to marijuana, are confused with an illegal substance. CBD oils, in particular, can be illegal if they are derived from marijuana instead of hemp, or if they contain more than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive element in weed. This creates a confusing legal grey area.
What Are the Consequences for Drug Crimes in Tennessee?
Beyond possession, Tennessee prohibits the manufacturing, trafficking, and sale of controlled substances. Each substance is “scheduled” by its potential for addiction and assumed danger. If you are arrested for a drug crime, especially one more serious than mere possession, your sentencing will depend on the schedule of the drug, your criminal history, and other case-specific factors.
Possible consequences include:
- Community service
- Forfeiture of property
- Driver’s license suspension
- Jail and/or prison time
For marijuana (or other Schedule I drugs) specifically, a first offense can result in 2 to 15 years of incarceration for purchase or possession, and a second offense can range from 5 to 30 years behind bars. Sale or intent to distribute can lead to 5 to 30 years of incarceration on a first offense, and 10 to 40 years or life for a second or subsequent offense.
Fines can range from $250 to $100,000 for possession and from $2,000 to $500,000 for sale or intent to distribute.
Facing Fines or Incarceration? Darnell & Darnell Can Help!
With over 90 years of combined experience and a working knowledge of existing and emerging Tennessee drug laws, our attorneys at Darnell & Darnell handle criminal cases involving marijuana and other controlled substances.
When you recruit our firm, we can help you create a proper defense and pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf. We are not afraid to assert your innocence if applicable and go to trial if needed.
Whether you need us to clarify a misunderstanding involving hemp and CBD, fight for your future in light of outdated medical marijuana laws, or reach a settlement, contact Darnell & Darnell today!
We can be reached for a free phone consultation at (931) 240-2752 or guide you through your charges during an in-person consultation – schedule one here, today!