If you intend to smoke or use marijuana in Tennessee, you should relent for it is illegal to engage in the recreational use of marijuana in state. Moreover, it is illegal to possess marijuana within the state and it is a crime. However, the state, in limited sense, allows the use of CBD oil for medical purpose.
Medical Marijuana Laws of Tennessee
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law, in May 2015, Senate Bill 280 even though he previously opposed the said bill. This law legalizes the use of CBD oil for treating certain number of severe conditions including that of epilepsy. However, the bill did not contain any provision on how patients can legally acquire their needed dose of cannabis oil. Any possession likewise of CBD oil without a valid proof of acquirement from outside the state is a misdemeanor within the state.
Drug Possession Laws of Tennessee
Marijuana belongs to the Schedule VI controlled substance. it is still illegal to engage in the recreational use of marijuana in the state. The Tennessee chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in 2015, vigorously launched a proposal for a ballot initiative in November for Davidson County to decriminalize small amount of marijuana possession. The ballot measure, however, was not included in the ballot for the movement only garnered around 4,000 signatures while the initiative required 6,845 signatures to get the measure included in the ballot.
Both Memphis and Nashville, however, succeeded in decriminalizing marijuana possession of small amount; moreover, in Memphis, the penalty, as a civil infraction, is only fined with $50. Here are the standing statutes on possession, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana within the state of Tennessee:
- For possession of 1/2 ounce or less (first offense), you will be charged with misdemeanor, plus 1 year of imprisonment, and $250 fine.
- For possession of 1/2 oz or less (subsequent offense) you will be charged with misdemeanor, 1 year of imprisonment, and up to $500 fine.
- For sale of 1/2 oz to 10 lbs of marijuana, you will be charged with felony, 1 to 6 years of imprisonment, and $5,000 maximum fine.
- For 10 lbs to 70 lbs, you will be charged with felony, 2 to 12 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $50,000.
- For selling 70 to 300 lbs, you will be charged with felony, 15 to 60 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $100,000.
- For selling more than 300 lbs, you will be charged with felony, 15 to 60 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $200,000.
Illegal cultivation of marijuana plants also has its concomitant penalties including the following:
- If you are caught cultivating 10 plants or less, you will be charged with felony, 1 to 6 years of imprisonment, and up to $5,000 fine.
- For 10 to 19 plants, you will be charged with felony, 2 to 12 years of imprisonment, and up to $50,000 fine.
- For cultivating 20 to 99 plants, you will be charged with felony, 3 to 15 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $100,000.
- For 100 to 499 plants, your charged will be felony, 8 to 30 years imprisonment, and maximum fine of $200.000.
- For cultivating more than 500 plants, your charge will be felony, 15 to 60 years of imprisonment, and maximum fine of $500,000.
Can Employers Require their Employees and Applicants to Undergo Drug Tests?
Tennessee does not prohibit employers from conducting drug tests in the workplace; hence, in the absence of this prohibition, employers can definitely require drug tests in the workplace for applicants as well as employees. However, these drug tests should be conducted based on the following statutory requirements:
- In case an employer has a reasonable suspicion that an employee could not perform his/her job due to drug use, the employer may conduct random drug testing.
- If an accident occurred in the workplace that resulted in damages, injury, and death, employers can initiate drug tests.
- Employers must publish an anti-drug policy statement and provide their employees in written form of this drug testing policy.
- Employers must institute drug-free awareness programs within the workplace.
- Employers should shoulder the costs of the drug tests.
- Employers can require drug tests for applicants who are applying for safety-sensitive positions. Moreover, they can also require employees who are assigned to safety-sensitive positions.