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Tennessee Marijuana Laws

It seems like almost every state is changing their marijuana laws lately. And from medical marijuana to legalization and decriminalization, it’s not easy keeping track of which laws apply where. Not so for the Volunteer State, who has kept it simple: no pot for citizens no matter what. (Although a recent bill has permitted university-based cannabis studies.) Here is a brief summary of Tennessee’s marijuana laws as they currently stand.

Marijuana Laws in Tennessee

Marijuana possession and sale remain illegal in Tennessee even in medicinal cases. While some states have relaxed their drug laws to cover marijuana legalization and decriminalization, possession of even a small amounts of marijuana is a crime in the Tennessee, risking jail sentences and heavy fines.

Tennessee Marijuana Statutes

Pot is not treated equally by all state marijuana laws. Tennessee’s marijuana laws are highlighted in the table below.

Code Section

39-17-401, et seq.


Possession or casual exchange of: Less than .5 oz.: Class A misdemeanor and attendance at drug offender school and minimum $250 fine; Casual exchange to a minor from an adult 2 yrs. his senior and adult knows minor is a minor: felony; Subsequent offense: $500 minimum; Third: $750 minimum; Two or more prior convictions, then Class E felony; 20 plants to 99 plants: Class C felony, fined up to $100,000.


.5 oz. to 10 lbs.: Class E felony and/or $5000; 10 lbs. + 1 g. to 70 lbs.: Class D felony and/or $50,000; 70 lbs. + 1 g.: Class B felony and/or $200,000; Over 700 lbs.: Class A felony and/or $500,000; Sale to minor under 18 or in drug-free zone: one class higher than amount required; Minimum penalty amounts: 1st drug felony offense: $2000; 2nd: $2500; 3rd: $3000



Similar to Tennessee’s laws, possession and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law by way of the Controlled Substance Act. And regardless of what a state’s marijuana laws say, federal law will always supersede state law. While federal law enforcement agencies have been hesitant to intervene in most state marijuana issues thus far, the federal government hasn’t given up on enforcing restrictions on higher profile cases of pot possession, manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution.

Related Resources for Tennessee Marijuana Laws:

As noted above, state marijuana laws can change frequently. If you would like help with a substance abuse problem, the Tennessee's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services can provide drug treatment resources. For additional information and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s drug charges section.

Charged with Violating Tennessee Marijuana Laws? Get Legal Help

Your criminal record is important to your future, including for your job prospects. While federal and state marijuana laws are constantly in a state of flux, a good lawyer can help you navigate through the legal system. If you're facing a marijuana-related crime in Tennessee, it's in your best interest to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney to discuss the state's drug laws and how they affect your case.

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