Tennessee Medical Marijuana: Bridging the Gap to a Better Quality of Life
We wish we could tell you that it’s possible to get medical marijuana in Tennessee. In reality, the Volunteer State is one of the few states that doesn’t permit MMJ. Instead, TN has a low-THC oil program that still requires prospective patients to go through a lengthy process.
Furthermore, Tennessee has extremely strict penalties for anyone breaking its marijuana laws. Below, we outline what TN residents are allowed to apply for and investigate the state’s rules surrounding cannabis.
Looking for MMJ in Tennessee? Forget About It!
It is a great shame that TN residents can’t access medical marijuana. After all, there is a litany of research highlighting the benefits of the substance for conditions such as chronic pain. Nonetheless, marijuana remains a federally illegal substance per the Controlled Substances Act.
States can decide whether to legalize the substance within their borders, and more than three-quarters have decided to allow MMJ. Tennessee is not among this number despite the best efforts of advocates.
In 2015, Governor Haslam signed SB 280. It was supposedly a medical marijuana bill but didn’t make any provisions for patients to access any substance. SB 280 effectively only enabled people to buy CBD. The following year, HB 2144 changed the law to allow MMJ patients to purchase CBD oil with a maximum THC content of 0.9%.
Despite efforts to create a ‘proper’ program, things haven't changed since. Therefore, medical marijuana in Tennessee relates solely to low-THC oil.
Penalties Are Severe
Some people may be tempted to ignore the laws and use marijuana illegally. In Tennessee, this is a bad and potentially life-altering decision. The state hasn’t decriminalized the use of the substance. Thus, if you’re found possessing even a gram of weed, you could spend up to 12 months in jail. It is a felony to sell over half an ounce; if convicted, you could be sentenced to a 6-year jail term.
It is also a felony to grow marijuana at home. If you cultivate one plant, you could spend up to six years in prison.
How to Apply for Tennessee’s Low-THC Program
So, in answer to the “Can you get a medical marijuana card in Tennessee?” question, you can’t access marijuana in the traditional sense. Instead, going through the application process only entitles you to CBD oil with a THC content of 0.9% or less.
To begin, you must contact a licensed physician within TN if you have one of the program’s qualifying medical conditions. Finding a doctor willing to engage isn't easy, but if you do, schedule a consultation. They will provide their recommendation if they agree that the low-THC oil could have some benefits.
There is no official state program, which means no further application process. The problem is that you’ll find it impossible to locate dispensaries selling CBD oil with between 0.3% and 0.9% THC. That’s because Tennessee residents must source their products outside the state.
This means you can’t access such items within TN without breaking federal law. Suppose you find a low-THC oil that meets Tennessee’s criteria in another state. Transporting it across state lines is a federal crime! So, you’re taking a big chance if you decide to proceed.
Realistically, it’s unlikely that CBD oil with 0.8% THC will have an effect that an oil with 0.25% THC doesn’t.
Is Low-THC Oil Worth It in Tennessee?
You can’t get medical marijuana in Tennessee, and it is unlikely that this situation will change anytime soon. You need a doctor’s recommendation to buy and possess CBD oil containing a maximum THC content of 0.9%. Worse still, even if you get the doctor’s recommendation, there is nowhere to legally buy it in the state.
Ultimately, the penalties for the illegal use of marijuana in TN are incredibly severe. You could spend six years in prison if found in possession of over half an ounce.
What’s interesting is that a cannabis bar and restaurant is operating in Nashville called Buds & Brews. If you’re 21+, you can buy a THC-infused drink or sauce with up to 5mg of the cannabinoid. The organization is getting away with it because its THC comes from hemp, which is now a federally illegal plant. Plus, its products contain less than 0.3% THC.
So, if you want to try cannabis without getting into legal trouble, Buds & Brews might be the answer.