Despite nationwide changes: marijuana penalties remain tough in Tennessee
Many people facing marijuana charges in Tennessee are shocked to learn that Tennessee has stiff criminal penalties for all marijuana charges. This is true despite the fact that marijuana legalization has gained momentum throughout the country. Throughout the United States, over half of all drug arrests involve marijuana and many people will continue this use despite the threat of incarceration. Many people including conservative politicians believe federal and state drug policies are misdirected and need to be reformed. In fact, some states (Washington and Colorado) and cities (Washington DC, New York and Chicago) have rethought the simple possession of marijuana issue because they realized current laws do not act as a deterrent and they are poor public policy. There even seems to be a minor movement to rethink Tennessee’s marijuana policy.
Tennessee Marijuana Arrests
Tennessee ranks 11th in the country in arrests related to marijuana and arrests usually total more than 20,000 per year. These marijuana arrests accounts for the majority of all drug arrests in Tennessee and the vast majority (roughly 80%) are for simple possession. Any amount of marijuana will constitute a criminal offense under Tennessee law. No amount is too small. People are often arrested or cited for the possession of a single roach in an ashtray. That means that the accused will face mandatory fines, court costs, drug tests, and probation fees for only possession of a minuscule amount. To make things worse, Tennessee will not recognize a medical marijuana card from another state and that makes the possession of medical marijuana illegal under Tennessee law. Yes, this even applies if the accused has a valid prescription a physician. Again, the possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal under Tennessee law.
Tennessee Marijuana Possession Laws and Penalties
The possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor charge that carries up to 11 months and days in jail and a fine up to $2,500.00. The fine for a first offense is $250.00 and the fine for a second offense increases to $500.00. Be advised that a third simple possession conviction is a felony that carries one to six years in jail and minimum fine of $1,000.00. That is right a felony charge could result from a small amount of marijuana. Please keep this in mind.
Felony charges are likely for those possessing more than a half ounce of marijuana. The penalties and fines increase as the amount of weed increases. For example, possession with intent to distribute a half ounce to 10 pounds carries one to six years in prison and a fine not to exceed $5,000.00. Felony charges can result even though the accused is not caught in the act of selling. Any possession of marijuana over a half ounce in presumed to be for the purposes of intent to sell or distribute. Felony charges will likely result in any amount of weed over a half ounce.
Despite the nationwide movement to legalize marijuana, Tennessee has not followed suit. It is still illegal to possess any amount of marijuana while in Tennessee. Please keep this in mind.
If you are currently facing marijuana possession charges in Nashville, TN or any surrounding county in Middle Tennessee, contact criminal defense attorney Lee Martin at 615-345-1988. He is a criminal defense attorney with nearly 20 years of experience and he knows how to get results in marijuana defense cases. He will use his experiences in marijuana defense and drug investigations to your benefit. You have nothing to lose. If facing marijuana charges, please make your choice wisely. It could make all of the difference in the world.
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-Lee Martin is a nationally recognized DUI and criminal defense attorney. He provides premier legal services by limiting his caseload exclusively to DUI and criminal matters. Lee knows how to build a solid defense strategy for your upcoming court date. Let Lee Martin be your choose as your Nashville area criminal defense lawyer. If you have pending charges, give him a call at 615-345-1988.
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