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Understanding Tennessee Cannabis Laws: A Comprehensive Guide

Tennessee Cannabis Laws

In the ever-changing landscape of cannabis legislation in the United States, understanding the complex web of Tennessee cannabis laws becomes paramount.

In fact, the cannabis legislation in the United States is a unique tapestry with its own unique approach to the plant’s legality.

This comprehensive guide sheds light on the complexities of Tennessee’s cannabis regulations. Let’s check out the legal landscape, and provide the answer to: Is weed legal in Tennessee? It’s time to uncover the differences within the legal landscape, between hemp and marijuana, and provide clarity on the legality of marijuana without a doctor’s prescription.

*disclaimer: this is not legal advice and we are not a legal platform. All information within this article is based on research to provide our users with information about Tennessee cannabis laws in an easy to read guide. Keep in mind that rules/laws are ever changing and could impact the validity of the information below. This content was last updated in October 2023.

a collage of events concerning tennessee cannabis laws

The Legal Landscape of Cannabis in Tennessee

Marijuana law in Tennessee draws a clear line between hemp and marijuana, both having their humble beginnings from the Cannabis sativa plant.

Is Marijuana Legal in Tennessee?

When it comes to the question is marijuana legal in Tennessee, the answer is made clear here:

Hemp, defined as Cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC, is permitted for cultivation. On the other hand, marijuana THC in Tennessee is illegal for anything more than 0.3%.

To distinguish between these two variants, crime laboratories, such as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), have traditionally relied on the examination of botanical features and conducted color tests. Tennessee is among the few states employing THC quantitation on plant material in state crime labs.

Efforts for Decriminalization

In terms of Tennessee and cannabis laws, efforts for decriminalizing cannabis have encountered various historical developments.

Municipal Decriminalization:
In 2016, both Nashville and Memphis initiated significant measures by easing penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. These actions signaled a clear shift towards a more lenient and progressive stance on cannabis-related offenses. Further progress was observed in July 2020 when Nashville implemented partial decriminalization for cannabis possession involving amounts under half an ounce.

2021 Medical Legalization Attempt:
The push for cannabis reform continued in March 2021 with the introduction of a bill aiming to legalize medical cannabis for severe medical conditions. This legislative effort sought to provide therapeutic relief to patients in need. However, despite these progressive attempts, the bill faced opposition in the state senate, and the endeavor to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in Tennessee remained unfulfilled.

These initiatives reflect ongoing efforts to bring about change in Tennessee’s cannabis laws, addressing the concerns of both medical patients and advocates for reform.

Why Marijuana is Illegal in Tennessee

The ban on marijuana in Tennessee is deeply entangled in a complex mix of historical, social, and political forces. Over time, marijuana has become associated with various negative stigmas and misconceptions, significantly contributing to its prohibited status.

Another influential factor in shaping Tennessee’s stance is marijuana’s federal classification as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

This federal classification has exerted considerable sway over state-level policies, including those in Tennessee.

Moreover, Tennessee, known for its traditionally conservative values, leans toward stricter drug policies. These conservative principles have shaped the state’s approach to cannabis, reinforcing its prohibition.

Additionally, the lack of consensus within the medical community regarding marijuana’s therapeutic value has added to the state’s hesitance. While some states have embraced medical marijuana, Tennessee remains cautious due to this uncertainty.

The prohibition of marijuana in Tennessee is intricately woven into the state’s history, societal perceptions, federal regulations, conservative ideologies, and medical uncertainties. These elements collectively contribute to the prevailing marijuana laws in Tennessee.

is marijuana legal in tennessee

Penalties and Consequences

Curious about the consequences of a THC-related felony in Tennessee? As per Norml, here’s what you need to know about Tennessee marijuana law:

  • First offense with half an ounce or less: Misdemeanor, max $250 fine, up to 1 year in jail.
  • Subsequent offense with the same amount: Still a misdemeanor, but now you’re looking at a mandatory $500 fine.

Selling cannabis in Tennessee is no joke. Under Tennessee cannabis laws, dabbling in the sale of a half ounce to 10lbs of cannabis will land you with a rather unpleasant felony charge. This little adventure can potentially send you on a vacation to a cozy prison cell for 1-6 years, all while making your wallet $5,000 lighter.

Now, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious and decide to deal with 10-70lbs of the green stuff, well, congratulations, you’ve just earned yourself a felony offense. This daring move could translate into 2-12 years of quality time behind bars and a substantial fine of $50,000.

And if you’ve somehow amassed over 300 lbs of cannabis, it’s time to break out the fancy vocabulary – it’s a Class A felony for you. Your reward? A generous 15-60 years of accommodations in a correctional facility and a wallet-wilting maximum fine of $500,000.

Growing weed in Tennessee is a serious offense:

  • 10 plants or less: Felony, 1-6 years prison, $5,000 fine.
  • 10-19 plants: Felony, 2-12 years prison, $50,000 fine.
  • 20-99 plants: Felony, 3-15 years prison, $100,000 fine.
  • 100-499 plants: Felony, 8-30 years prison, $200,000 fine.
  • Over 500 plants: Class A felony, 15-60 years prison, $500,000 fine.
marijuana law in tennessee

Tennessee Cannabis Laws For Hash & Concentrates

According to the Tennessee cannabis laws:

  • Possession of hash and concentrates: Misdemeanor, up to 11 months in jail, max $2,500 fine.
  • Manufacturing, delivering, or selling these substances: The stakes rise, with potential sentences ranging from 6 to a whopping 60 years in the big house. Fines depend on the quantity and can range from $5,000 to a hefty $500,000.

For Paraphernalia

With marijuana law in Tennessee, things concerning paraphernalia are pretty straightforward:

  • For Possession: Misdemeanor, up to 1 year jail time and fine of $150-$2,500.
  • Selling Paraphernalia: Felony, up to 6 years in prison, $5,000 fine.


For miscellaneous THC in Tennessee charges:

  • Falsifying a Drug Test: Class A misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana: Face a DUI offense.

Tennessee Cannabis Laws for Medical Use

Is medical weed legal in Tennessee?
Tennessee has a very limited medical marijuana program that does not allow broad use. However, it has made exceptions for a non-intoxicating form of cannabis oil.

Is CBD legal in Tennessee?
Well, Tennessee got the ball rolling in 2014 with law SB 2531, giving the green light to high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil for specific medical cases, like intractable seizures or epilepsy. To qualify, this oil must pack a minimum of 15% CBD and no more than 0.9% THC. But here’s the catch: patients must first try three or more traditional treatments without success and get a nod from a licensed neurologist.

2015 CBD Oil Legalization:
In May 2015, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed Senate Bill 280, legalizing the possession and use of marijuana to treat specific severe conditions such as epilepsy. However, with the most recent failed SB1104 bill in 2023, there seems to be little to no progress in medical cannabis legislation.

Recreational Marijuana Law in Tennessee

So, is recreational weed legal in tennessee? No, it doesn’t matter how you look at it, marijuana remains firmly illegal. The state makes it clear that marijuana use, possession, or sale is prohibited by law.

Although some states have taken steps to legalize recreational marijuana, Tennessee holds firm on enforcing regulations. As stated above, engaging in any marijuana activities in the state can lead to serious consequences, including misdemeanor charges, fines, and even jail time. It’s critical for people in Tennessee to stay informed on the state’s stance on recreational marijuana.

Is Delta-9 Legal in Tennessee?

Delta 9 THC is legal in Tennessee, so long as its sourced from hemp plants containing less than 0.3% THC. Tennessee does have specific regulations that permit the use of Delta-9 THC in certain circumstances. However, it’s crucial to understand that Delta-9 THC’s legalization has nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana.

Tennessee, like many other states, recognizes Delta-9 THC’s potential in medicine and industry. In this respect, it is legal for those who meet specific criteria to access and utilize Delta-9 THC. These circumstances typically pertain to the low THC content found in hemp-derived Delta-9 products. However, the recreational use of marijuana, with higher THC concentrations, remains strictly prohibited under Tennessee law.

is Delta-8 legal in tennessee and is Delta 9 legal in tennessee

Is Delta-8 Legal in Tennessee?

For those aged 21 and up, it’s legal to buy and use Delta-8 THC. Recent changes in the Delta-8 law have made it more accessible in the state. The passage of SB 378 in May 2023 has significantly impacted the legality of Delta-8 THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids derived from hemp in Tennessee.

This new Delta-8 law has brought about a transformation in the regulatory landscape. This gives the green-light to the creation and marketing of Delta-8 THC, signaling change in how the state handles these compounds. The law’s primary goal is to oversee the manufacturing and distribution of hemp-derived cannabinoids, encompassing items like Delta-8 and Delta-10.

With these changes, individuals of legal age now have the freedom to purchase and use Delta-8 THC products in Tennessee, provided they comply with the relevant regulations outlined in SB 378.

Recent Development in Delta-8 Law in Tennessee

The new Delta-8 law in Tennessee makes way for significant changes, including certain provisions, such as:

A notable feature of the new law is the imposition of a 6% state tax on Delta-8 products. This measure contributes to state revenue while allowing continued access to these products under regulated conditions.

Product placement and requirements:
Retailers are now required to place hemp-derived products, including Delta-8, behind the counter. This change in product placement enhances control over their distribution. Additionally, the Delta-8 law introduces new product testing and packaging requirements to guarantee quality and safety standards.

The law establishes strict penalties when it comes to the illegal sale of hemp-derived products to individuals under 21. This offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor, with up to 1 year jail time or a $2,500 fine.

Additional provisions:
To differentiate hemp-derived THC in Tennessee vs. illegal marijuana, the state has established testing and labeling requirements. In order to sell and manufacture hemp-derived cannabis products, a valid license issued by the Department of Agriculture must be obtained.

A license certificate for manufacturers and sellers of hemp-derived cannabis products according to the new delta-8 law - delta 8 legal in Tennessee

The Future of Tennessee Cannabis Laws

Right now, the crystal ball for cannabis laws in Tennessee is still a bit hazy, but there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for 2024. Enter the HB0085 bill, also known as the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act.” It’s on a mission to lay down the law for growing, processing, and selling marijuana and all its derivatives within the state. If this bill gets the green light, it could shake things up big time in Tennessee’s cannabis scene, with the Department of Agriculture calling the shots.

This newfound clarity in the legal framework isn’t just for show. It could set the stage for some serious changes in the Tennessee cannabis industry. Painting the picture for more eager entrepreneurs and deep-pocketed investors stepping into the game, sparking a wave of growth and innovation in the sector. Planting the seeds for a greener, more vibrant cannabis future in the Volunteer State.

When will Tennessee legalize weed?

When Tennessee might embrace full weed legalization is a bit of a head-scratcher. The path for change in Tennessee is hopeful, as the year 2024 seems to hold a few cards up its sleeve. With the federal government announcing the idea of changing their position on cannabis as a Schedule I, that could change the game in Tennessee. Of course, this won’t immediately unlock the gates of a full-scale legalization, it will unlock the doors for research, cross-state commerce, and perhaps some tax advantages. With the landscape constantly changing, the chess pieces are on the move.

For many, full-on legalization feels like an “it’s bound to happen” scenario, even if the ETA is a big question mark.

How Businesses Can Prepare for Further Legislation in 2024

Tennessee cannabis laws are constantly changing. That means businesses must stay agile and adaptable in order to navigate them. This is why leveraging platforms like Stemless can be a strategic move that allows you to be ready for any shift in the regulatory scene.

• Stay agile and adaptable: It’s essential to engage customers through targeted promotions, updates, and information. By utilizing SMS marketing for dispensaries, you can truly change the game, offering a 91% open rate and robust consumer behavior analytics.

• Focus on customer experience: New customers becoming repeat customers is vital for any business. Our loyalty program for dispensaries leverages analytics to ensure you maximize revenue, while engaging customers both in-store and at home.

• Leverage integrations for seamless operations: Your POS (Point of Sale) system is so much more than a transaction tool, it’s a powerful marketing asset. Our stemless integration solutions for dispensaries streamline operations, remove marketing pain points, and create happy customers.

Prepare for compliance and regulation: With this ever-changing regulatory landscape, it’s vital for businesses to stay updated and compliant with Tennessee marijuanas law. Stay prepared and informed for successful business operations.

• Educate your team: Make sure your team is always well-informed about new features and integrations, such as Stemless, to ensure that your business is making the most out of the tools currently available.

Strategy is everything, and by embracing the strategies and capabilities of platforms like Stemless, businesses can remain proactive and prepare for changes to cannabis laws in Tennessee, setting the stage for success and growth in 2024 and beyond.

*disclaimer: this is not legal advice and we are not a legal platform. All information within this article is based on research to provide our users with information about Tennessee cannabis laws in an easy to read guide. Keep in mind that rules/laws are ever changing and could impact the validity of the information above. This content was last updated in October 2023.