While some states have taken steps to decriminalize and even legalize marijuana use, Tennessee has not. In fact, if a Chattanooga police officer catches you with marijuana, you could face some very serious charges. In addition, a conviction on your criminal record could have some major consequences in your personal life as well. For example, it could cost you your job or future employment or cause you to lose your financial aid if you are a college student.
As with most crimes, the legal consequences of a drug conviction will vary based on the seriousness and scope of the crime. The following is a brief overview of what you can expect if the court convicts you of a marijuana charge.
For less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana in your possession, you could end up with a Class A misdemeanor on your record and $250 in fines. In addition, you may have to attend a drug counseling program. If you have two or more drug convictions and face an additional one, the court could convict you of a Class E felony. Possession of plants numbering between 20 and 99 is a Class C felony and could cost you $100,000 in fines alone.
Selling marijuana usually comes with harsher penalties than simple possession. For example, if you have half an ounce up to 10 pounds of marijuana with an intent to sell, you could face a Class E felony and a $5,000 fine. Between 10 and 70 pounds is a Class D felony and usually includes a $50,000 fine. Over 70 pounds will push those fines well into the triple digits and might range from $200,000 to $500,000 depending on the amount of marijuana and other circumstances.
Possession for medical use
Unlike many other states that have passed laws that allow the use of medical marijuana, Tennessee has not done this yet. This means that if you have marijuana on your person strictly for medical use, you could still be subject to the consequences above.
If you are facing a drug charge, it is important to remember that you still have rights and options. With a strong defense, you can fight back against the charges and maybe avoid a conviction on your record.