Tennessee Cannabis Legalization Status, Current Laws & Job Prospects

Tennessee Cannabis Legalization

Medical: Currently not legal. Despite ongoing discussions and legislative attempts, a comprehensive medical cannabis program hasn’t been established in Tennessee. However, a limited program allowing use of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil for seizure patients exists.
Recreational: Not legal. Tennessee remains one of the few states where neither medical nor recreational cannabis is legal. However, there have been growing efforts for medical cannabis legalization, including recent legislative proposals and increased public support.

Current TN Cannabis Laws:

  • Possession: Any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor for adults 21+. Penalties increase for larger quantities and can also involve jail time and fines.
  • Limited Medical Use: Qualifying patients with epilepsy and severe seizures can legally possess and use high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil with a doctor’s recommendation and state registration.
  • Consumption: Public consumption of cannabis is strictly prohibited for any purpose. Private consumption remains illegal for all forms of cannabis except the approved CBD oil for seizure patients.
  • Driving: Driving under the influence of cannabis is a DUI and carries significant consequences.
  • Sales: Selling or cultivating cannabis, regardless of quantity or medical status, is a felony with serious legal repercussions.

Cannabis Job Prospects in TN:

  • Limited Job Opportunities:
    • Since recreational and medical cannabis are not legal in Tennessee, the job market specifically focused on the cannabis industry is non-existent.
    • Some ancillary jobs related to hemp cultivation and research might be available, but these opportunities are likely scarce and competitive.
  • While resources focused solely on cannabis jobs are lacking in Tennessee, you can explore these options for potential opportunities:
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Tennessee Cannabis FAQs:

Is CBD Legal in Tennessee?

Yes, CBD is legal in Tennessee with certain stipulations. The CBD must be derived from hemp, not marijuana. Hemp is defined as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component that produces the “high” associated with marijuana.

THC content: The actual CBD product, whether it’s oil, gummies, cream, etc., must also have a THC content below 0.3%. Therefore, hemp-derived CBD with a THC content below 0.3% is completely legal to purchase, possess, and use in Tennessee.

Here are some additional points to keep in mind:

  1. Marijuana-derived CBD: CBD derived from marijuana, which typically has higher THC levels, is still illegal in Tennessee.
  2. Regulation: While legal, CBD is not yet heavily regulated in Tennessee. Be sure to purchase your CBD from reputable sources that can provide you with lab testing results to verify the THC content.
  3. Employment: Even though CBD is legal, some employers may still have policies against its use.

For more detailed and current information, you can check the following resources:

Can I get a medical cannabis card in TN?

No, you cannot get a medical cannabis card in Tennessee as of October 2023. Medical cannabis remains illegal in the state. Despite public and legislative efforts to introduce a program, none have been successful.

Current Legislation:

  • Although several bills proposing a medical cannabis program have been introduced in the Tennessee Legislature, none have passed both chambers and been signed into law.
  • This means the state currently lacks any legal framework for obtaining and using medical cannabis.

Limited Options:

  • Due to the illegality of medical cannabis, residents with qualifying conditions cannot legally obtain a medical cannabis card in Tennessee.
  • Some neighboring states, like Arkansas and Missouri, do have medical cannabis programs, but accessing them would require relocation or cross-border travel, which poses legal risks.


  • While medical cannabis is not available, patients in Tennessee can explore alternative treatment options for their qualifying conditions.
  • Consulting with their doctor for traditional medications, therapies, or other evidence-based management strategies is crucial.

Future Prospects:

  • The national trend towards cannabis legalization, coupled with growing public support in Tennessee, suggests potential changes in the future.
  • Continuing to voice support for a medical cannabis program through advocacy groups and contacting legislators can contribute to legislative progress.
  • Staying informed about any legislative developments or upcoming ballot initiatives related to medical cannabis is essential.

Important Note:

  • Possessing or using any amount of cannabis, including for medical purposes, remains illegal in Tennessee and can result in penalties ranging from fines to jail time.

Remember, exercising caution is crucial when seeking medical cannabis treatment in Tennessee due to the current legal restrictions. Prioritize legal and conventional healthcare options while staying informed about potential changes in the state’s cannabis policy.

Is it legal to grow cannabis for personal use in Tennessee?

No, it is not legal to grow cannabis for personal use in Tennessee. As of October 27, 2023, Tennessee has strict laws prohibiting the cultivation of any form of cannabis, including both recreational and medical uses:

  • Recreational Cannabis: Cultivation of any amount of cannabis is illegal for recreational purposes. Possession of any amount can result in penalties ranging from fines to jail time.
  • Medical Cannabis: Currently, Tennessee does not have a legal medical cannabis program, so cultivation for medical use is also not permitted.

Here’s a breakdown of the relevant laws:

  • Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-417: This law makes it a crime to cultivate, manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess with intent to deliver any controlled substance, including cannabis.
  • Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-419: This law defines cannabis as a Schedule VI controlled substance, placing it in the strictest category of illegal drugs.

Therefore, regardless of your intentions or medical needs, growing cannabis in Tennessee is illegal and carries significant legal risks.

Here are some important points to remember:

  • Penalties for cannabis cultivation can be severe, ranging from fines and misdemeanor charges to felony convictions and years of imprisonment.
  • Even small amounts of cannabis plants can result in legal trouble.
  • Law enforcement actively investigates and prosecutes cannabis cultivation cases.

While public and legislative efforts are ongoing to change Tennessee’s cannabis laws, the current situation prohibits cultivating cannabis for personal use. Always prioritize your safety and legal well-being by complying with existing regulations.

For further information and updates on potential changes in Tennessee’s cannabis policies, you can refer to these resources:

Important Note:

  • The legal landscape surrounding cannabis in Tennessee is complex and restrictive.
  • It is crucial to be aware of the legal risks associated with possessing, consuming, or selling cannabis in Tennessee, even in small amounts.

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