With so many states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, getting caught with some in Tennessee should be no big deal, right? Actually, this is not the case. The state has very clear laws regarding marijuana. If police catch you with it, expect criminal charges.
The decriminalization of pot is not something Tennessee residents should expect anytime soon. State lawmakers do not see any benefit from legalizing this drug although they have just recently allowed certain universities to take part in cannabis studies. So, what do state laws really say about marijuana, and what are the consequences if convicted on a marijuana-related crime?
As previously mentioned, the state allows cannabis studies at certain institutions. Other than that, the state does not allow marijuana use for medical conditions. Those who claim to have medical conditions and even provide a prescription for the drug may still face possession charges, which can carry family stiff penalties.
Current marijuana laws
As it stands, residents or visitors to the state who are found with marijuana will likely face possession, sales or trafficking charges. The penalties for each of these crimes is as follows:
- Simple possession: Those convicted of carrying .5 ounces or less will likely have to pay a $250 fine and attend a drug offender class.
- Possession with casual exchange to minor: This is a felony level offense. Fines range from $500 to $100,000. It all depends on the age of the minor and the number of offenses on one's record.
- Sale/Trafficking: Those found carrying more than .5 ounces of marijuana are likely to face felony charges, punishable by fines, imprisonment or both. Fines range anywhere from $5000 to $500,000.
Clearly this drug issue is one that the state does not take lightly. The severity of any penalties imposed with a conviction relate to the amount of drug in your possession and your intent.
While Tennessee does have strict marijuana laws, it does not mean that those accused of possessing the drug, in any amount, cannot defend themselves if charged. As with all criminal cases, there are defense options that may help you achieve the best outcome possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney will have the ability to review the finer details of your case, question any evidence offered against you and help you navigate the court system, all while fighting to protect your rights and future interests.