It has now been ten years since Colorado made history by becoming the first state to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Since then, numerous other states, from Michigan to California, have followed suit.
Dozens of states have also passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Has Tennessee finally instituted laws making it legal to use marijuana for medical purposes or as a recreational alternative to alcohol?
Medical marijuana bills have died in the legislature
There have been numerous attempts to add medical marijuana laws to state code in Tennessee, but all of them have failed thus far. With the exception of a recently expanded law about cannabidiol (CBD), there are no statutes legalizing or decriminalizing the possession of marijuana or products that contain THC, its psychoactive component.
Even if you believe you have a valid medical reason to possess marijuana, the police could still arrest you and charge you with a criminal offense. Prosecutors frequently talk with juries about how they must uphold state law, so even changing public perception of marijuana offenses may not protect you from a conviction.
Possession of any amount of marijuana will mean that you are at risk of both jail time and fines, as well as the lasting consequences of a criminal record related to prohibited drugs. Keeping informed about changing laws in Tennessee can help you avoid violating drug laws by making an assumption that behavior that is still illegal has become legal.
Fighting back if you do end up facing drug charges can help you avoid a criminal record that could change the course of your life.