LEARN | LAWS & REGULATIONS
Is weed legal in Tennessee?
Adult-use (recreational) weed is illegal. Cannabidiol (CBD) products containing less than 0.9% THC are legal for the treatment of intractable seizures.
Is medical marijuana legal in Tennessee?
Medical marijuana laws are very limited in Tennessee despite efforts in 2020 to put a legalization bill on the general election ballot. The one exception is for cannabidiol (CBD) products containing less than 0.9% THC for the treatment of intractable seizures, permitted by a 2015 law signed by Governor Bill Haslam. Medical cannabis treatment is only allowed in CBD oil form.
In recent years, anesthesiologists Rep. Bryan Terry and Sen. Steve Dickerson have been pushing for Tennessee medical marijuana legislation that would further explore the use of medical cannabis as treatment for qualifying conditions. Dickerson’s latest effort in 2018 dissolved when he saw that the medical use bill wouldn’t garner enough support.
Purchasing cannabis in Tennessee
Under current Tennessee marijuana laws, CBD oil must be acquired legally in the U.S. and outside of Tennessee.
The CBD oil must have a manufacturer’s label that says the product contains less than 0.9% THC, the predominant, intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis. The oil must be purchased legally in the US outside of Tennessee and users must also have proof of legal purchase.
Weed possession laws in Tennessee
In 2020 Rep. Antonio Parkinson and Sen. Katrina Robinson pushed to raise the simple possession limit from 0.5 ounce of marijuana to 1 ounce of marijuana. However, their efforts have not been successful and possession of 0.5 ounce or less of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor in Tennessee punishable by up to a $250 fine and one year in jail. That said, the Nashville District Attorney’s Office announced in 2020 that it will no longer prosecute for possession of less than 0.5 ounce of marijuana , opening the door for other jurisdictions to follow suit. This decision does not mean that marijuana has been decriminalized in Tennessee.
A 2018 study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) showed a strong racial disparity in drug enforcement actions in Tennessee with Black Americans arrested for weed possession at three times the rate of whites .
Home cultivation of marijuana is illegal in Tennessee.
Tennessee recognizes only conditions causing intractable seizures, such as epilepsy, as valid for using CBD.
This page was last updated September 25, 2020.
View the cannabis & CBD laws & regulations for Tennessee.
Tennessee Marijuana Laws
Updated September 2019
Despite support from citizens of Tennessee, the state has yet to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana bill, or any progressive recreational marijuana policies. Learn more about Tennessee marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Tennessee
Is marijuana legal in Tennessee? No.
Possession of recreational marijuana in any amount is illegal in Tennessee. No matter how small of a quantity is possessed, citizens can be jailed for up to a year and face a $250 fine for their first offense, which is a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses can lead to a felony charge, with jail sentences going as high as 6 years
In September 2016, Nashville became the first city in Tennessee to decriminalize small possessions of marijuana. Rather than an individual being automatically charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to a $2,500, a police officer can elect to make the infraction a civil penalty, susceptible to a $50 fine or up to 10 hours of community service.
Possession of more than half an ounce can be characterized as possession “with intent to distribute.” This is an especially tough policy considering that in many other states, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is now a civil infraction.
Tennessee is also yet to enact any policies related to conditional release for first time offenders, as many other states have.
Medical Marijuana in Tennessee
The state has yet to pass comprehensive medical marijuana laws, although two were proposed in 2015. These laws would have given medical marijuana to people suffering from a wide variety of ailments, along the lines of the 23 other states that have already legalized medical marijuana. Unfortunately, the two bills died in committee, but these initial steps are signs that the tide is beginning to turn in the Tennessee Legislature. Polls show that a large majority of Tennesseans already support medical marijuana.
In 2014, Tennessee did pass SB 2531, a bill that legalized low-THC cannabis oil for patients with intractable seizures who are approved for the treatment by a physician, as part of a clinical research study. Unfortunately, the bill proved ineffective as patients were unable to obtain the cannabis oil. In 2015, SB 280 was signed into law, which made it legal for Tennesseans to travel outside of Tennessee to procure the oil, as the state provides no in-state resources for access.
CBD Hemp Oil in Tennessee
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Tennessee
Tennessee enacted a bill to allow industrial hemp cultivation along the lines of the Farm Bill in 2014. Under Senate Bill 2495/House Bill 2445, cannabis possessing less than 0.3% THC (industrial hemp) is reclassified as an industrial crop rather than a controlled substance. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture accepts applications to grow hemp, and assists farmers in procuring the necessary seed in compliance with the DEA.
In May 2016, Gov. Bill Haslam signed House Bill 2013 to further expand the Tennessee hemp industry. The measure allows for the licensing of hemp processors so hemp products can be processed in state.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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