Marijuana legalization may be sweeping the country, but it’s still illegal in Tennessee. Getting caught with any amount of pot can lead to a criminal record, though a new law makes it less likely that multiple charges of possessing a small amount of marijuana will lead to a felony conviction.
It’s important to know the potential consequences before taking the risk of getting caught with marijuana. If you are charged with possessing any amount of marijuana under half an ounce, you may:
- Be charged with a Class A misdemeanor
- Face fines of at least $250
- Be required to attend a drug education program
Possessing more than half an ounce of marijuana can lead to felony charges, potential jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
Think twice before passing that joint.
Tennessee law treats “casual exchange of marijuana” similarly to possession, with one major exception. The potential penalties rise to felony levels if an adult exchanges marijuana with a minor, as long as the adult is at least two years older than the minor and knows they are sharing marijuana with a minor.
So, for example, a 21-year-old college senior would need to be careful about sharing marijuana with a 17-year-old freshman, as long as he knows the younger student is a minor.
New law lightens penalties for repeat offenders
Until last year, someone charged three times with possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana could be convicted of a Class E felony. Under a new law enacted last year, possession of less than half an ounce of pot is classified as a misdemeanor, no matter how many previous convictions you have on your record.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take such charges seriously. If you’ve been charged with possession of even a small amount of marijuana, you should talk to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.