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Tennessee Marijuana Laws

Tennessee Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule VI drug in TN.500,000200,000

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-415 (2015)

Possession

Possession of a half ounce of marijuana or less is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and maximum fine of $2,500. A $250 fine is required for all first time convictions. A subsequent offense brings a $500 mandatory minimum fine.

Gov. Bill Haslam signed HB 1478 into law, which will eliminate the provision that makes a third conviction for possession of marijuana a felony. The law took effect on July 1, 2016. This change will reduce the penalty for third-time possession from between one and six years of incarceration to less than one year in jail. In addition, having a misdemeanor rather than a felony record will reduce the collateral consequences associated with the conviction.

See

  • Tennessee HB 1478 (2016)
  • Tenn. Code Ann, §39-17-418 (2015)
  • Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-428 (2015)

Sale

The sale or possession with the intent to distribute between a half ounce of marijuana and 10 pounds is a Class E felony punishable with between 1-6 years of incarceration and a fine of no more than $5,000.

The sale or possession with the intent to distribute between 10 pounds -70 pounds of marijuana is a Class D felony punishable with between 2-12 years of incarceration and a fine of no more than $50,000.

The sale or possession with the intent to distribute between 70-300 pounds of marijuana is a Class B felony punishable with between 8-30 years of incarceration and a fine of no more than $100,000.

The sale or possession with the intent to distribute more than 300 pounds of marijuana is a Class A felony punishable with between 15-60 years of incarceration and a fine of no more than $500,000.

A first-time felony conviction will receive a minimum fine of at least $2,000.

A second felony conviction will bring a minimum fine of at least $3,000. The third and all subsequent felony convictions will bring a fine of at least $5,000, and will be punished at one grade higher.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-417
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-111

Sale to a minor is a felony, which results in an increased penalty (determined by amount of marijuana present) by one sentencing grade.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann §39-17-417(k)

Sale to a minor within 1,000 ft. of a school is an unclassified felony which results in a increase in the grade of the offense (determined by amount of marijuana present) by one sentencing grade.

Cultivation

Cultivation of 10 plants or less is a Class E felony and can lead to incarceration of between 1 and 6 years, and will bring a maximum fine of $3,000.

Cultivation of between 10 and 19 plants is a Class D felony and can lead to incarceration of between 2 and 12 years, and will bring a maximum fine of $50,000.

Cultivation of between 20 and 99 plants is a Class C felony and can lead to incarceration of between 3 and 15 years, and will bring a maximum fine of $100,000.

Cultivation of between 100 and 499 plants is a Class B felony and can lead to incarceration of between 8 and 30 years, and will bring a maximum fine of $200,000.

Cultivation of 500 or more plants is a Class A felony and can lead to incarceration of between 15 and 60 years, and will bring a maximum fine of $500,000.

First-time felony convictions will receive a mandatory minimum fine of at least $2,000.

Second-time felony convictions will receive a mandatory minimum fine of at least $3,000.

Any repeat felony conviction after the second will receive a mandatory minimum fine of at least $5,000.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-417

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of hashish or concentrates is a crime. If the amount of hashish or concentrates is less than 14.75 grams the offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and a term of imprisonment no greater than 11 months and 29 days. A second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class E felony punishable by a fine no greater than $3,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 1 year and no greater than 6 years.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-418
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-111

It is a crime to manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess hashish or concentrates. If the amount of hashish or concentrates is less than 2 pounds, the offense is a Class E felony punishable by a fine no greater than $5,000 and a term of imprisonment between 1-6 years.

If the amount of hashish or concentrates is greater than 2 pounds but less than 4 pounds, the offense is a Class D felony punishable by a fine no greater than $50,000 and a term of imprisonment between 1-12 years.

If the amount of hashish or concentrates is greater than 4 pounds but less than 8 pounds, the offense is a Class C felony punishable by a fine no greater than $100,000 and a term of imprisonment between 3-15 years.

If the amount of hashish or concentrates is greater than 8 pounds but less than 15 pounds, the offense is a Class B felony punishable by a fine no greater than $200,000 and a term of imprisonment between 8- 30 years.

If the amount of hashish or concentrates is greater than 15 pounds, the offense is a Class A felony punishable by a fine no greater than $500,000 and a term of imprisonment between 15-60 years.

If the offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, recreation center, public library, child day care facility, or park , the penalty is increased by one class, i.e. a Class D felony becomes a Class C felony, a Class B felony becomes a Class A felony, etc.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-417(g),(h),(i)
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-111(b)
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-432

Any device or equipment used to make or create hashish is considered drug paraphernalia. Using paraphernalia or possessing paraphernalia with the intent to use is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine no greater than $2,500 and a term of imprisonment no greater than 11 months and 29 days. Possessing or manufacturing with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia is a Class E felony punishable by a fine no greater than $3,000 and a term of imprisonment no less than 1 year and no greater than 6 years.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-402(12)
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-425
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-111

Paraphernalia

Possession of paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable with up to 1 year of incarceration and a fine of between $150 and $2,500. For a second or subsequent violation, the mandatory minimum fine increases to $250.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-424
  • Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-428

Sale of paraphernalia is a Class E felony, punishable with 1-6 years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $5,000.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-425

Miscellaneous

Falsification of Drug Tests

Falsifying a dug test is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable with up to 1 year of incarceration and a fine not to exceed $2,500.

See

  • Tenn. Code Ann. §39-17-425
Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold.

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML’s Industrial Use section.

Medical CBD

This state has passed a medical CBD law allowing for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC for any “medical condition” for which a physician recommends it.

Tax Stamps

This state has a marijuana tax stamp law enacted. This law mandates that those who possess marijuana are legally required to purchase and affix state-issued stamps onto his or her contraband. Failure to do so may result in a fine and/or criminal sanction. For more information, see NORML’s report Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws And Penalties.

Tennessee Drugged Driving

In Tennessee, a person is guilty of a DUI if he or she drives or to be in physical control of any motor driven vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, or narcotic drug. Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-401(a) (West 2010).

Affirmative Defense

The fact that any person or persons who drive while under the influence of narcotic drugs, or shall drive while under the influence of barbital drugs, is or has been entitled to use such drugs under the laws of this state, shall not constitute a defense to the violation. Id. § 55-10-402.

Implied Consent

  • Any person who drives a motor vehicle in this state is deemed to have given consent to a test or tests for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of that person’s blood, a test or tests for the purpose of determining the drug content of the person’s blood, or both tests. Id. § 55-10-406(a)(1).
  • If a person refuses to submit to testing, no test shall be given; however, the court shall revoke the license of the driver for a period of one year if the person has no prior convictions, and two years if consent has been withdrawn on another occasion. Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-406(4)(A).
  • Driving while intoxicated defendant’s refusal to take blood alcohol test is admissible in court. State v. Ford, 721 S.W.2d 828 (1986).
  • Accused has no right to speak with attorney before deciding whether to submit blood or breath test. State v. Frasier, 914 S.W.2d 467(1996).
  • A person who has been tested may have a qualified professional of their choice perform another test, but driver who has refused to submit to test can not invoke right to blood test at driver’s own expense because he or she was not a ‘person who has been tested.’ Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-406 (West 2010); State v. Choate, 667 S.W.2d 111 (1983).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of not less than $350, nor more than $1,500; driver’s license suspended for 1 year. Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-403(a)(1)(A)(i) (West 2010).
  • Second offense (w/i 10 years) – fine of not less than $600, nor more than $3,500; imprisonment for not less than 45 days, nor more than 11 months and 29 days; driver’s license suspended for 2 years; court may mandate participation in a drug treatment program. Id. § 55-10-403(a)(3); Id. § 55-10-403(a)(1)(A)(iv).
  • Third offense (w/i 10 years) – fine of not less than $1,100 nor more than $10,000; imprisonment for not less than 120 days, nor more than 11 months and 29 days; driver’s license suspended not less than 3 years, nor more than 10 years. Id. § 55-10-403(a)(3); Id. § 55-10-403(a)(1)(A)(v).
  • Fourth and subsequent offense Class E Felony – fine of not less than $3,000, nor more than $15,000; imprisonment for a term of not less than 150 consecutive days; driver’s license suspended not less than 5 years. Id. § 55-10-403(a)(1)(A)(vi).

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • DUI with child under 18 years of age in vehicle is punished by a mandatory minimum imprisonment for 30 days, and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. Id. §55-10-403(a)(1)(B)(i)

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Tennessee, law enforcement officials are entitled to conduct sobriety checkpoints under both the state and federal constitutions.

  • Properly conducted sobriety checkpoints do not violate the state constitution, so long as officer discretion is limited and no motorist is unfairly singled out or unduly burdened. State v. Downey, 945 S.W.2d 102 (1997)
  • Conspicuously avoiding a sobriety checkpoint may justify an investigatory stop, but avoiding a checkpoint via a legal maneuver (including a legal U-turn) does not necessarily justify a stop. State v. Binion, 900 S.W. 2d 702 (1994).
  • Checkpoints serving as combined DWI and drug trafficking deterrents are not condoned by the Tennessee constitution or the federal constitution. . U.S. v. Huguenin, 154 F.3d 547 (1998); State v. Walker, 1998 WL 608220, (1998).

Case Law

State v. Dobbins, 265 S.W.3d 419 (2007) – Defendant stopped while attempting to leave parking lot could not be convicted for DUI. State was required, and failed, to prove that he used the public roads while intoxicated (i.e. when he pulled into the parking structure).

State v. Greenwood, 115 S.W.3d 527 (2003) — Evidence of defendant’s physical condition at the time of administration of test is admissible.

State v. Corder, 854 S.W.2d 653 (1992) — DUI conviction can be achieved using circumstantial evidence.

State v. Lemacks, 996 S.W.2d 166 (1999) — Defendant who allowed his friend to drive car while friend was ‘very intoxicated’ was guilty of a DUI based on theory of defendant’s criminal responsibility for permitting his friend to drive.

State v. Beech, 744 S.W.2d 585 (1987) — Defendant’s convictions for DUI and possession of marijuana was proper in light of testimony of arresting officer who observed driver weave across lanes, turn off headlights while driving, and who witnessed defendant drop a bag of marijuana during his arrest.

Tennessee Hemp Law

Year Passed: 2014

Summary: Senate Bill 2495/House Bill 2445 reclassifies cannabis possessing less than 0.3 percent THC as an industrial crop rather than a controlled substance. Separate legislation enacted in 2016, HB 2032, allows for the licensed cultivation of industrial hemp when “grown by an institution of higher education in this state that offers a baccalaureate or post-graduate level program of study in agricultural sciences.” The law also establishes a process for licensure for persons who wish to process or distribute industrial hemp within the state.

Statute: Tenn. Code. Ann. § 43-26-103 (2014)

Tennessee Tax Stamps

Stamp
State Code §67-4
Tax Rate $3.50/gram if owner possesses 42.5 grams or more
$.40/gram stems
Penalty for Nonpayment (Civil and Criminal ) 200% of tax and interest
Additional Information
Circa September 7, 2007, Tennessee’s tax stamp has been declared unconstitutional by the appellate courts, pending appeal to the state Supreme Court.