Some people see that weed is being sold legally across America and assume that there will be no penalty if they purchase it and carry it over state lines into Tennessee. These people have made an incorrect assumption, as marijuana is still very illegal in the state of Tennessee. If you are caught with marijuana here, penalties can be immense.
Still, many of our clients have been arrested for marijuana trafficking and possession. Even though their intent was only to have a good time consuming marijuana they bought in a legal state, these people are at risk of being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. To learn what the consequences for possessing legal weed in Tennessee may be, continue reading.
What are the Tennessee penalties for weed possession?
If you purchase marijuana from a dispensary in another state, then transport it to Tennessee, this may be considered drug trafficking by a judge. While simple possession of small amounts of weed up to half an ounce in weight is only a misdemeanor, three or more times this will is a felony offense.
For first- and second-time offenders, the penalty is only a maximum of a year in prison with a fine of up to $2,500. Further offenses put offenders at risk of being fined up to $5,000 and facing between one and six years of prison time. Therefore, anyone who has been caught with marijuana here in Tennessee should consider securing legal representation as soon as possible to minimize the consequences.
Remember that marijuana is federally illegal
In the federal legal statutes, marijuana is still described as a Schedule 1 drug that has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. This is the case, even though dozens of states have already legalized the product for medicinal use locally. Others have legalized marijuana recreationally, but those numbers are far fewer than the number of states where medicinal use is acceptable.
Can I take legal marijuana back into Tennessee?
Some individuals believe that it is okay to carry their marijuana across state lines because they bought it legally. This is far from the truth. This can be seen as marijuana trafficking and should be avoided under all circumstances. But we understand that mistakes happen.
Even if you buy legal marijuana from a recreational or medicinal dispensary, carrying it into other states is a criminal offense. In some cases, depending on the amount, it may even be considered a federal offense, which invites much stronger penalties. You may be wondering, “But what if I take marijuana from one recreational state to another?” Unfortunately, you are still breaking the law.
Congress has not made it legal to carry any controlled substances across state lines without proper licensure. Because marijuana is still a federally controlled substance, taking it from state to state is considered illegal. We have seen many casual smokers face drug trafficking charges because they were simply unaware that it was illegal to take weed into another state.
Will the federal government prosecute me for marijuana possession?
In general, federal law enforcement has not been keen on taking action against people who follow their state’s laws regarding marijuana. Though it may be federally illegal to have marijuana, authorities frequently turn a blind eye to certain activities, as long as individuals do not carry on any drug-related activities on federal property in legal states. However, the government will typically prosecute when people take marijuana from a legal state to an illegal state.
Due to this fact, we highly recommend that nobody carry marijuana across state lines under any circumstances. Doing so puts your freedom and financial security at grave risk.
What are Tennessee’s drug trafficking penalties?
If you are caught taking marijuana across state lines, you will be prosecuted according to state or federal laws, depending on how much marijuana you had at the time of the arrest. If you are carrying less than 50 kilograms of marijuana across state lines, you will not face the maximum penalty. That said, the penalty for even these lesser offenses can be quite considerable.
For carrying less than 50 kilograms across state lines, you risk up to five years in prison. In addition to that prison time, you may be fined up to $250,000. These penalties can affect you for the rest of your life. Without a lawyer to represent you, the worst case scenario is far more likely to happen. Therefore, if you have recently been arrested for drug trafficking, it’s best to secure a lawyer to help you fight for your rights in court.
Are judges more lenient in marijuana cases?
You may have heard that judges are required to give lesser sentences to people who have smaller amounts of weed. This is not the case. They are not required to — they simply choose to under some circumstances. You have the option to ask for leniency, but the judge is not required to grant that request. Their job is to enforce the law and provide judgment. If their judgment says that you should face five years in prison for far less than 50 kilograms of weed, they will certainly give that sentence.
Drug trafficking is not worth the risk. It is always best to enjoy the weed where it is legal, then throw out any of the remainders. Crossing state lines with it is ill-advised, so never make the mistake of getting caught doing it.
If you have been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, do not worry. There is a chance you can have the charges dropped or reduced. You will not be able to achieve this outcome on your own in most cases, but a qualified Franklin drug crimes attorney from the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates can help you. Call our office at 615-977-9370, or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team today. We have offices in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood.