is weed legal in tennessee

Is Weed Legal In Tennessee: Full Guide

Table of Contents

Tennessee is well known for its fine whiskey, country music, and the Great Smokies. Among the list of can’t-miss attractions and delights are Graceland and Dollywood, and you can’t leave the Volunteer State without a plate of barbeque meats or a Nashville hot chicken sandwich. Yet, the one thing you won’t be visiting Tennessee for is cannabis tourism because the green stuff is fully illegal. 

Is Weed Legal in Tennessee? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: No
  • Medical THC: No
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: Yes

Weed is Illegal in Tennessee

While there is plenty of fun to be had in Tennessee, getting high is not one of them. At least, not legally. Tennessee has yet to legalize cannabis for either medical or recreational use. Despite initiatives urging lawmakers to consider allowing for medical marijuana in certain circumstances, the bills never make it past committee meetings. See below for more information on the penalties associated with buying, selling, transporting, consuming, and possessing cannabis in Tennessee.

Cannabinoid Variants

The dominant cannabinoid in marijuana is THC. This compound is heavily regulated and only legal for sale through dispensaries in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. However, as of 2018, hemp-derived cannabinoids have flooded the marketplace. While CBD (the dominant cannabinoid found in hemp) was the first to make waves, many more followed. Some of which are psychoactive THC isomers. So, what are the rules in Tennessee when it comes to these alternative cannabinoids? 

Is CBD legal in Tennessee?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. Hemp-derived CBD is legal in Tennessee.

Is Delta-8 legal in Tennessee?

Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that shows up in small amounts in hemp and marijuana. Although marijuana-derived Delta-8 THC is illegal in Tennessee, it’s perfectly fine if it comes from hemp. This is a lovely loophole for any interested smokers in Tennessee because Delta-8 offers similar effects to Delta-9 THC, meaning you can still get stoned. However, those effects are just a bit milder.

Is Delta-10 legal in Tennessee?

Delta-10 THC is legal in Tennessee. It is a very similar compound to Delta-8, and although found naturally in hemp and marijuana, most Delta-10 products come from hemp. This is to allow for broader market availability. Delta-10 is milder than Delta-8 but still psychoactive.

Are THC-O and other THC variants legal in Tennessee?

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Tennessee?

Yes, HHC and HHC-O are legal in Tennessee. These two cannabinoids might not sound like it, but they are also THC isomers. All of the same rules apply. So long as they come from hemp and contain less than the legal limit of Delta-9 THC, adults may buy and consume HHC and HHC-O in Tennessee.

Cultivation Laws

Cannabis cultivation is illegal in states without legalized cannabis programs. It is illegal to cultivate any amount of marijuana in Tennessee. See below for more information on penalties associated with cultivation. 

Where to Buy Weed in Tennessee

What are the options for getting high in Tennessee? Certainly, people will still be looking for cannabis, and laws have never stopped anyone from lighting up. 

Direct to Consumer

The above-mentioned alternative cannabinoids are readily available online. You can shop from hundreds of brands selling cannabinoid products like Delta-8, Delta-10, THC-O, and HHC. The form factors are the same as you’d find in a marijuana dispensary, so consumers can choose from pre-rolled joints, gummies, hard candy, other edibles, beverages, tinctures, vape pens, and disposable vapes. Tennessee also features many CBD shops, some of which also sell alternative cannabinoids. 

Black Market

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

Efforts to Legalize Weed in Tennessee

In early 2022, two bills were pitched that would radically change cannabis laws in Tennessee. House Bill 1968 and Senate Bill 2598 aim to establish an adult-use program that would regulate recreational cannabis sales. The licensing process would prioritize veteran-owned businesses (especially if they currently have a hemp license). It would also offer protections for tenants, healthcare providers, and uphold the second amendment. 

If passed, the bills would immediately release all non-violent (and non-felony) marijuana offenders that are currently incarcerated. In addition to releasing any past offenders from probation or parole. 

The law is poised to grant individuals over 21 to possess up to 60 grams of cannabis plus 15 grams of concentrated cannabis products. It will also allow adults to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at one’s home, expanding the possession limits beyond 60 grams so long as the product is concealed from view and stored securely. 

Unfortunately, these bills have stalled out, and there has been no further movement at this time. 

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in Tennessee? 

Marijuana is illegal in Tennessee and you cannot smoke it in private or in public.

Can you smoke weed in public in Tennessee? 

You cannot legally smoke weed anywhere in the state of Tennessee.

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for growing weed?

Growing cannabis in any amount is a felony offense in Tennessee. Ten plants or less will earn you one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Penalties increase exponentially from here. Ten to nineteen plants is punishable by two to twelve years, and up to $50,000 in fines. More than 500 plants can lead to up to 60 years in prison and fines of $500,000.

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

Selling marijuana in Tennessee is always a felony, no matter the amount. If you attempt to sell anywhere from a half ounce to ten pounds the fines will range up to $5,000 with one to six years of incarceration. This is a Class E felony. 

Punishments continue to rise with amounts. A Class D felony involves between ten and 70 pounds of weed, leading to two to twelve years in prison and fines of $50,000.

This continues upward to a Class A felony which involves sale, possession, or intent to distribute more than 300 pounds. This is punishable by fines up to $100,000 and up to 60 years of incarceration. 

All first time felony offenders pay an additional fine of $2,000 (at least) and second-time offenders pay at least $3,000. This is on top of the above fines. A third felony conviction pushes the fine to at least $5,000 and a bump up in grade.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

Selling marijuana to a minor is a felony in Tennessee. The penalty is determined by the amount sold, and punishments increase by one felony grade based on the amount.

What is possession with the intent to sell?

Possession with intent to sell or distribute is when you possess more marijuana than you can reasonably consume, or when you possess more than the legal limit. Because marijuana is illegal in Tennessee, any amount of marijuana may be considered as intent to sell.

When is possession still a crime?

Possession of a half ounce of marijuana (or less) is punishable by fines up to $2,500 and a year in jail. If this is a first-time misdemeanor there is an automatic fine of $250. Should you incur any additional infractions, the next offense comes with an additional $500 mandatory minimum fine.

What are the penalties for possession for personal use?

Possession of a half ounce of marijuana (or less) is punishable by fines up to $2,500 and a year in jail. If this is a first-time misdemeanor there is an automatic fine of $250. Should you incur any additional infractions, the next offense comes with an additional $500 mandatory minimum fine.

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