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Tennessee and Cannabis. What You Should Know

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Given how popular medical marijuana has become, it’s only a matter of time before Tennessee joins the 37 States that have legalized medical marijuana, right? Well, things are not so straightforward.

So, what’s happening with medical marijuana in Tennessee? We’ll explain in this piece.

Does Tennessee have medical marijuana?

Despite growing marijuana acceptance nationwide and several legalization efforts, Tennessee does not have medical marijuana. 

The only marijuana available to Tennessee residents is the high-CBD, low-THC hemp-derived marijuana specified in the 2018 Farm Bill. So, is THC legal in Tennessee? Yes, if it meets the requirements of the Farm Bill — if it contains less than 0.3% THC.


Regarding medical marijuana, Tennessee is part of the minority of states yet to legalize it. In 2021, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Tennessee legislature asking that Tennesseans be polled for their opinion on medical marijuana.

The bill Senate Bill 1973/House Bill 1634, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Griffey, a Republican from Paris, and Sen. Sara Kyle, a liberal Democrat from Memphis, is seeking a state-sponsored opinion poll where voters can weigh in on the issue.

Griffey said: “To me, there’s no downside to it, very minimal cost. Let the Tennessee voters at least express their opinion in an unbiased manner so all of us as legislators have a sense of what the voters would like us to do.”

The questions they intend to put voters are:

  1. Should the state of Tennessee legalize medical marijuana?
  2. Is it important for the state to decriminalize the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana?
  3. Should the state legalize and regulate the commercial sales of recreational marijuana?

The results won’t guarantee legalization, but it will give lawmakers an idea of public opinion.

Medical Marijuana in Tennessee: Legalization Efforts

It’s not for lack of trying that medical marijuana is not legal in Tennessee. There have been recent efforts to legalize medical cannabis in Tennessee, but they were unsuccessful.

The latest effort to legalize medical marijuana In Tennessee hit a dead end after the bill’s sponsor withdrew it, citing a lack of support. Democratic state Rep. Bob Freeman pulled HB1968 from notice after failing to garner enough support from his colleagues.

He lamented that Tennessee is falling behind in marijuana regulation. He said: “There is a very real possibility that, by the time we come back next year, we will be the only state that touches Tennessee that has not done some sort of legalization.”

A fiscal review of the bill projected that Tennessee could earn between $65 to $130 million per year in revenue, but this did nothing to sway legislators. 

Freeman said, “It highlights the fact that we are continuing to turn our back to the potential revenue for taxing this legally — people are already using it or else they wouldn’t be getting picked up, and we’re criminalizing this, putting people in jail for what is legal in other states.”

On March 3, 2021, Representatives Janice Bowling and Iris Rudder introduced SB0854, a bill to legalize medical marijuana treatment for severe conditions.

The bill known as the Tennessee Marijuana Act didn’t make it out of the senate, and lawmakers expressed concerns about its constitutionality. 

Neighboring states like Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, and Mississippi already have medical marijuana programs.

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Tennessee, and the state has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country. Marijuana legislation in the state is so strict that the state has blocked municipal decriminalization.

In 2016, the two largest cities, Nashville and Memphis, decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis.

However, the state repealed these municipal decriminalization efforts only seven months later and prevented local governments from forming their own drug possession sanctions.

Nashville partially decriminalized cannabis in July 2020 when the District Attorney dropped all marijuana charges below half an ounce. 

At the time, District Attorney Glenn Funk said: “Marijuana charges do little to promote public health, and even less to promote public safety.” He also noted that drug charges disproportionately affect minorities, and the measure would correct this injustice.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper expressed unequivocal support for the decriminalization measure; he said: “I support the DA’s decision to stop prosecuting minor marijuana offenses in Davidson County. 

We need to continue working to ensure that people have access to drug treatment and that we are doing everything we can to keep nonviolent young people out of the criminal justice system.”

Marijuana Laws in Tennessee

The sale and possession of all forms of marijuana are illegal in Tennessee; this includes medical marijuana. While some states have decriminalized marijuana, you risk heavy fines and jail time if caught with even the smallest amount in Tennessee.

On April 27, 2016, Governor Bill Haslam signed HB1478 into law. The law, which took effect on July 1, 2016, removed the felony charge that applied to third or subsequent convictions for possessing half an ounce or less of marijuana.

The bill also reduced the penalty for a third conviction from one to six years in jail to less than one year. But that’s not all.

Learn more about marijuana laws in your state by clicking here.

Tennessee Cannabis: Possession Laws

First-time possession of less than half an ounce is a Class A demeanor that carries a $250 fine and up to a year in jail; a second conviction carries a $500 fine, while the minimum fine for a third conviction is $1000.

Tennessee Cannabis: Sale Laws

The sale of between half an ounce to 10 pounds of cannabis or up to two pounds of hashish is a Class E felony punishable by a fine of at least $2000 and up to $5000 and a jail term of between one to six years behind bars.

If someone sells 10 to 70 pounds of marijuana or two to four pounds of hashish, this is a Class D felony with a minimum fine of $2000 and a maximum of $50,000, between 2 to 12 years in jail, or both.

Beyond that, those who intend on selling — or do sell — between four and eight pounds of hashish will receive a Class C felony, and penalties include a fine of at least $2,000 and up to $100,000, between three and 15 years in prison, or both.

The sale of between 70 and 300 pounds of marijuana and between eight and 15 pounds of hashish is a Class B felony and carries a minimum fine of $2000, a maximum fine of $200,000, between eight and thirty years in jail, or both.

Finally, selling over 300 pounds of marijuana or over 15 pounds of hashish is a Class A felony, and penalties include a fine of at least $2,000 and up to $500,000, between fifteen and sixty years behind bars, or both. 

Tennessee Cannabis: Cultivation Laws

Cultivation of 10 plants or less is a felony with a maximum fine of $5,000 and a jail term of between one and six years. From there, punishments only grow. 

The cultivation of 10-19 plants is a felony with a maximum fine of $50,000 and two to twelve years in prison. Growing between 20-99 plants is a felony; the maximum fine is $100,000, while the jail term is three to fifteen years. 

Further, the cultivation of 100-499 plants is a felony with a maximum fine of $200,000 and eight to thirty years behind bars. Finally, growing more than 500 plants is punishable with a maximum fine of $500,000 and fifteen to sixty years in jail.

Tennessee Cannabis: Paraphernalia Laws

The prohibition on marijuana in Tennessee extends to marijuana paraphernalia, and it is illegal to manufacture, sell, possess or use cannabis paraphernalia. Marijuana paraphernalia includes items used to grow, harvest, process, sell, store, or use marijuana.

Penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia include a minimum fine of $150, a maximum fine of $2,500, up to a year in prison, or both. Paraphernalia sale is punished by a fine of up to $3,000 and jail time of between one and six years or both.

Can You Get a Medical Card in Tennessee?

Tennessee does not have a medical marijuana program, so you can’t apply for a Tennessee medical card.  

How to Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in Tennessee 

Since Tennessee does not have a medical marijuana program, Tennessee medical marijuanas cards are unavailable. 

Can You Legally Grow Hemp in Tennessee?

Don’t do it if you’re thinking of growing hemp in Tennessee. Marijuana possession, use, and cultivation are illegal, even if you believe you have a medical condition that can benefit from medical marijuana treatment.

Dispensary in Tennessee

You can’t legally buy marijuana in Tennessee. Medical marijuana is not legal in Tennessee, so there are no dispensaries in the state. You’ll face heavy consequences if you’re caught selling or buying marijuana, as we’ve outlined in Tennessee marijuana laws.

You Can’t Go Wrong With Elevate Holistics

Marijuana has undoubtedly grown in popularity, but unfortunately, not all states have medical marijuana, and Tennessee is one of them. Despite this unfavorable situation, we expect more push for legalization from both congress and citizens.

Elevate Holistics is keeping an eye on developments and if anything changes, you’ll hear it from us first.

Medical marijuana may not be legal yet in Tennessee but if you find yourself in a state where it is legal, trust Elevate Holistics to make access easy for you with the best marijuana service.

If you’ve got questions and inquiries, ask us! We have the answers you’re looking for.

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