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Cannabis laws in Tennessee

Cannabis laws in Tennessee

Table of contents

Medical: No
Recreational: No
Reciprocity: N/A

Tennessee does not have legal medical or adult-use cannabis. The state does allow qualifying patients to access CBD oil with no more than 0.9% THC, which is higher than the 0.3% federal standard for CBD oil. 

Despite overwhelming support from state residents (81% of residents think cannabis should be legal in some capacity) multiple bills in 2022 and 2021 to legalize medical marijuana have failed. 

Possible penalties

Tennessee still has harsh penalties for cannabis charges. Possession of any amount is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and between $250-$500 in fines. The sale and cultivation of cannabis plants are felony charges, and you could face years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. You could even face up to a year in jail for carrying paraphernalia like bongs. 

Cannabis in Tennessee

The people of Tennessee have an evolving relationship with cannabis. 

Hemp was first brought to the state with settlers in the 19th century and quickly became a staple crop. Production declined in the latter part of the 19th century and stopped entirely in the early part of the 20th century after the Marijuana Tax Act. Agriculture is still a large part of Tennessee’s economy and the return of the legal hemp market provides economic opportunity to farmers throughout the state. 

Much of the opposition to legalizing medical or adult-use cannabis comes from the state government. Multiple bills have been introduced between 2020 – 2022 that would have legalized a medical program, a recreational program, or decriminalized cannabis possession, yet all have failed. Some 81% of residents believe the plant should be legal in some capacity. 37% believe it should be legal for recreational use while 44% only support a medical program. Tennessee is one of just 13 states without a medical program 

Tennessee medical marijuana program 

Tennessee does not have a full medical marijuana program, but the state does allow qualifying patients to access CBD oil with up to 0.9% THC. Patients must have a note from a doctor to access the oil and each letter is only valid for six months. 

The sale of this CBD oil is not legal in Tennessee, so patients must seek their medication from outside of the state. Possessing a doctor’s note only keeps them from being arrested and charged with cannabis possession. Patients in Tennessee rely on reciprocity laws in surrounding states like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Virginia. 

Qualifying conditions include: 

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • ALS
  • Cancer (end stage)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Sickle cell disease

CBD regulations

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in Tennessee and you can find CBD products at hemp stores across the state. Medical card holders can possess CBD oil with up to 0.9% THC, though you can’t purchase the oil in state. 

Can you grow your own weed?

You cannot grow cannabis plants in Tennessee. You can grow hemp, but you need a license from the state

Visiting Tennessee – can you buy or bring marijuana products?

You cannot legally bring cannabis into Tennessee, nor can you buy it. Crossing state borders with cannabis is illegal. 

In a prohibition state like Tennessee, the legacy market, also known as the black market, is the only place to get THC flower or products. These products are unregulated and untested, so consume them at your own risk.

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