Recreational marijuana is illegal in Tennessee and the punishment for possession is strict. Possession of more than 0.5 oz of flower is a felony under Tennessee law, as is possession of more than 14.75 g of THC concentrate. Offenders may face upwards of 6 years of incarceration and fines of $5,000, provided they are found in possession of less than 10 lbs. of flower marijuana or 2 lbs. of concentrate.
First-time offenders found in possession of 0.5 oz or less of flower marijuana will face misdemeanor charges and be punished by a mandatory fine of $250 and up to 1 year of incarceration. For subsequent offenses the fine is increased to $500. Those found guilty of first-time possession of less than 14.75 g of THC concentrate face misdemeanor charges and could be punished with incarceration of up to 11 months and 29 days, as well as a fine no greater than $2,500. A second or subsequence conviction is punishable as a felony, which may result in a 6-year term of imprisonment and a fine of up to $3,000.
Cultivation is a felony in the state of Tennessee with the following penalty structure:
• 10 plants or less: Maximum sentence of 6 years imprisonment; maximum fine of $5,000.
• 10-19 plants: Maximum sentence of 12 years imprisonment; maximum fine of $50,000.
• 20-99 plants: Maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment; maximum fine of $100,000.
• 100-499 plants: Maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment; maximum fine of $200,000.
• 500 or more plants: Maximum sentence of 60 years imprisonment; maximum fine of $500,000.
Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk announced on July 1, 2020, that his office will no longer prosecute individuals for possessing less than 0.5 oz of cannabis, though civil penalties will still apply. This policy has the support of Nashville Mayor John Cooper.
Tennessee does not currently have a formal medical cannabis program, but the state did create a pathway to allow caregivers and individuals with intractable epilepsy or another uncontrolled seizure disorder the ability to possess formulations that contain no more than 0.9% THC without fear of prosecution. However, on top of having a qualifying disorder, patients must be enrolled in an approved clinical research study and be under the care of a physician practicing at a hospital or associated clinic affiliated with a Tennessee university’s college or school of medicine. On May 27, 2021, Governor Bill Lee signed SB118 into law, which expanded the number of the state's qualifying conditions to include: Alzheimer's disease, ALS, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell disease. The legislation took effect immediately.
At this time, these are the only medical professionals allowed to recommend any formulation of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC.