Understanding Hemp and Marijuana Laws in Tennessee

Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana and hemp, is cultivated for both its psychoactive properties and as a source of fiber. In Tennessee, the cultivation of hemp, defined as Cannabis sativa containing less than 0.3% THC, is legal. However, marijuana, which contains more than 0.3% THC, remains illegal in the state.

The complexity of marijuana laws varies across states, addressing a range of issues. The specifics of a proposed Tennessee law on marijuana legalization are yet to be determined. According to the Tennessee State Government’s guidelines, a “cannabis plant” includes any part of a plant from the Cannabis genus, encompassing hemp. Actions such as possessing rooted hemp without a valid license or cannabis with THC concentrations above 0.3% are prohibited in Tennessee.

The hemp regulatory program, established in 2015, combines statutes, rules, protocols, and SOPs. Amendments to this program were made in 2014 and 2019, allowing the Department of Agriculture to implement rules for hemp cultivation and management. Regarding medical cannabis, states like New York and Florida have specific regulations, such as requiring a pharmacist with specialized training to supervise marijuana dispensing facilities. As of October 2021, Florida had over 631,660 qualified patients in its medical cannabis program.

Law enforcement in Tennessee faces challenges due to inconsistencies in hemp and marijuana laws nationwide and varying perceptions of enforcement responsibilities. The Tennessee Drug Diversion Task Force (TDDTF) manages the GTFME program with support from the DEA and TBI, focusing on these issues.

In terms of food safety, all food products in Tennessee must originate from an approved source, including those containing hemp. This ensures that they are inspected and permitted by the relevant regulatory authorities.

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Currently, the Tennessee General Assembly Legislation considers the manufacture, delivery, or sale of cannabis (marijuana) a criminal offense, except under specific conditions outlined in the Tennessee Legend Drug and Controlled Substance Research Act of 1984. There is also a proposal to decriminalize the sale and possession of medical marijuana by licensed establishments.

For more detailed information on these topics, please visit the following resources:

Hemp & Marijuana – Tennessee State Government
State of Tennessee Office of the Attorney General
Hemp Rules 11.2021 – Tennessee State Government
Statutory Authority 11.2021 – Tennessee State Government
Hemp Rules and Regulations – Tennessee State Government
Understanding Hemp and Marijuana Laws in Tennessee

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