In Tennessee Simple Possession And Casual Exchange are Still Illegal

Even though recent surveys, voter referendums and legislation across our country have shown that many Americans favor the decriminalization of marijuana for many reasons including medicinal purposes, in Tennessee marijuana is a Schedule VI illegal substance. Although simple possession of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor per Tennessee Code marijuana simple possession jointAnnotated § 39-17-418, any drug offense in Tennessee is taken very seriously and is highly likely be aggressively prosecuted.

If a person is convicted of simple possession of marijuana he or she could be sentenced up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and subject to being fined up to $2500 and a minimum fine of $250 for the first offense. After two or more prior convictions for simple possession that same person can be charged with a Class E felony on his or her third charge where penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and between one and six years in prison, or both.

While some are aware of simple possession still being illegal in Tennessee, few understand the law as it relates to casual exchange of marijuana and the penalties associated with conviction(s) thereof. The term “casual exchange” means the spontaneous passing of a small amount (less than 1/2 of an ounce or 14.175 grams) of an illegal drug, regardless whether money was received for the exchange of the illegal drug. An example would be passing a joint at a party.

Under Tennessee law, the penalty for a casual exchange of a marijuana conviction(s) follow the same rules laid out under the simple possession with one big caveat — provided the casual exchange was between adults. If the casual exchange was from an adult to a minor who is two years younger than the adult then it can be charged as a class E felony, even if it’s your first marijuana simple possession or casual exchange arrest.

Although many continue to passionately voice their belief that marijuana should be legal like in Colorado, the State of Tennessee is clear as it relates to illegality of simple possession of marijuana and prosecution of such can have serious consequences. If you are arrested and charged with simple possession or any drug related offense in Tennessee, don’t make the mistake of trying to resolve the matter on your own. Contact Donna Wagner immediately to set up a consultation about your case.

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