Is Weed Legal in Tennessee? TN Cannabis Laws (2023 Update)

Illustration of Chattanooga Lookout Mountain
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: February 27, 2023

This guide covers the legality of marijuana in Tennessee. We discuss recreational and medical laws, penalties for possession, perspectives for decriminalization, and pending legalization bills. You’ll also learn about a federally legal alternative to weed in Tennessee.

  • Marijuana isn’t legal in Tennessee. Recreational and medical use is prohibited; previous attempts to legalize cannabis in the state have been shot down by opponents.
  • You can legally use high-CBD/low-THC oil, but there’s no distribution network to provide it to those in need.
  • Tennessee has harsh penalties for paraphernalia and marijuana concentrates, although if you’re caught with a smaller amount, you may avoid jail time if that’s your first offense.
  • Growing 10 plants or less is punishable by up to 6 years in prison.
  • Hemp-derived delta 8 THC is legal in Tennessee; you can find it locally and in online stores.

Is Weed Legal in Tennessee?

No. Weed is illegal in Tennessee for recreational and medical use. The state has some of the harshest penalties for marijuana possession and is strict about marijuana paraphernalia.

Related: Marijuana Legality by State

There have been some attempts to legalize marijuana in the past, but none of the bills have succeeded.

The most populated municipalities in Tennessee adopted laws that partially decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Tennessee?

No. Marijuana isn’t legal in Tennessee for recreational use. If you’re caught with marijuana, you’ll be charged with a criminal offense and serve time in prison on top of getting a fine.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Tennessee?

Tennessee doesn’t have a medical marijuana program for patients. The state allows only low-THC/high-CBD oils, but there is no infrastructure to provide them to those in need.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Possession of up to ½ oz of marijuana for personal use is a Class A misdemeanor that can land you in jail for up to a year and a $250 fine if that’s your first offense.

Any larger amount is classified as a felony and may also result in the assumption of the sale of marijuana.

Growing cannabis is a Class E Felony, with a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 1 year and a $5,000 fine. The more marijuana you’re caught with, the more severe the penalty.

Tennessee lawmakers don’t distinguish between marijuana and hashish or other concentrates; possession of cannabis extracts entails the same penalties as for the flower.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Tennessee?

Yes, but only in some cities. The more populated and forward-thinking municipalities in Tennessee have partly decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2016, Nashville and Memphis lessened fines to $50.

This local change led to the latest partial decriminalization in 2020, and the Tennessee District Attorney dropped all cannabis possession charges under ½ oz.

What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Tennessee?

Cannabis legalization is only possible through elected officials — it’s not something that can be changed by a voter initiative process.

CBD oil was legalized for severe epilepsy in 2015, but as mentioned earlier, there are no legal means to buy it.

Tennessee almost legalized medical marijuana in 2020, but the Senate decided to suspend it until the federal government takes down marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

One legislation, SB 1477, is currently pending. If passed, it will legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21+.

Delta 8 THC: A Better and Legal Alternative to Marijuana in Tennessee

Delta 8 products: vapes, gummies and tincture with hemp leaves

As you can see, your hands are tied when it comes to buying weed in Tennessee. Fortunately, thanks to recent breakthroughs in extraction methods, it’s now possible to extract isomers of THC from hemp plants — which is federally legal.

Delta 8 THC is the most popular isomer. It’s less potent than delta 9 THC from marijuana and offers similar health benefits.

But before we elaborate on where to buy delta 8 THC in Tennessee, let’s look at why some people steer away from high-THC cannabis.

Cons of Delta 9 THC From Marijuana

Most people can enjoy marijuana high without any unpleasant side effects. In low and moderate doses, the effects of delta 9 THC are relaxing, soothing and can improve your cognitive performance.

Larger doses get you high, altering your perception of time, thinking patterns, and causing euphoria. Most people experience episodes of laughter and feel more peaceful during the buzz.

Not to mention that everything tastes 100x better when you’re high.

Unfortunately, some people are overly sensitive to the psychedelic effects of delta 9 THC. When they take too much, the cannabinoid reveals its biphasic nature, triggering mental discomfort and a few physiological reactions.

The side effects of delta 9 THC include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Feelings of discomfort
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Short-term memory problems

Effects and Benefits of Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 THC is an analog of delta 9 THC. Both cannabinoids have an identical chemical formula, but their structure is slightly different.

Delta 9 THC has a double bond at the ninth carbon chain, while delta 8 THC has this bond at the eighth chain.

This makes delta 8 THC about 50% as potent as delta 9, meaning you’d need to take twice as much delta 8 THC to experience the same high and intensity of effects as with regular weed.

Delta 8 THC is also less likely to drive you anxious and paranoid — the two main reasons why some people don’t like to smoke or eat marijuana.

At the same time, delta 8 offers many similar health benefits to delta 9, including:

  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Neuroprotection

Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Tennessee?

Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, isomers, and salts of isomers.

The new law coincided with the latest advancements in extraction methods that allowed manufacturers to extract usable amounts of delta 8 THC from hemp.

The Farm Bill says that as long as the end product contains less than 0.3% delta 9 THC, it’s federally legal. Hemp-derived delta 8 meets these legal criteria.

So far, 14 states have banned delta 8 THC — but not Tennessee. You can legally buy delta 8 products in one of the state hemp stores or online.

Benefits of Buying Delta 8 THC Online

The delta 8 THC space is unregulated, with no standards when it comes to the quality and purity of delta 8 products.

You need to devote a serious amount of time researching local vendors near you or online. Buying delta 8 THC online provides the best toolset for the job. You can read customer reviews, look into certificates of analysis (CoAs), learn about the company from its “About Us “ section, or reach out to other users on social media platforms and forums like Reddit.

Online stores also offer lower prices on the same products because they can cut out the middleman. You can save even more money by joining reward programs, subscription orders, or using coupon codes.

And there’s no need to drive between different stores. You can compare different products and prices in the comfort of your home, and your order will be delivered in 2-3 business days.

Best Online Delta 8 THC Stores

Like I said, making a well-informed decision on delta 8 THC products requires a serious amount of research.

If you’re looking for a quick recommendation from someone who’s spent the last five years exploring different cannabinoid extracts, here are my two top favorite brands.

I’ve been using their products since 2019 and can recommend them with a clear conscience.

1. Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Get 15% off all Area 52 products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Area 52 specializes in delta 8 THC extracts made from pure distillate. The company offers tinctures, edibles, vape carts, and pre-rolled joints that are not only rich in delta 8 THC but also contain high levels of terpenes.

The addition of terpenes contributes to the entourage effect, increasing the overall potency of the product and manipulating its effects. Depending on the terpene blend, some of these products are more energizing, and some lean toward deep relaxation and sleepiness.

Area 52 has recently introduced a new line of products called “the real full-spectrum,” featuring HHC gummies, CBN sleep gummies, CBG energy gummies, immunity gummies, and CBD oil.

All products from Area 52 are rigorously tested in an ISO-certified laboratory for potency and purity.

2. Finest Labs

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs takes a scientific, no-BS approach to delta 8 THC extracts. The brand focuses on a narrow selection of formats, but its formulas are mastered to perfection.

You can choose from products like tinctures, gummies, and vape carts. The gummies are my favorite category because Finest Labs makes you spoiled for choice. There are regular delta 8 THC gummies, as well as CBG + Vitamin B12 gummies, and HHC gummies.

Finest Labs is also one of the most reputable manufacturers of botanical terpenes, offering both single terpenes and special blends that recreate the effects and flavors of specific cannabis strains.


Who can use medical marijuana in Tennessee?

Tennessee allows marijuana for medical use if you have intractable epilepsy. If you prove that no other conventional treatment has been useful, you can use high-CBD/low-THC oil. The problem is that Tennessee doesn’t have a distribution network for these products, so patients are stuck without their medicine.

Can you grow weed in Tennessee?

No. It’s illegal to grow weed in Tennessee. It’s a felony punishable by up to 6 years in prison.

Can you smoke marijuana in public?

No, smoking marijuana in public is prohibited in Tennessee. If you’re caught consuming weed in a public place, you’ll be charged with possession.

Can you travel with marijuana in Tennessee?

No. Marijuana is illegal in Tennessee, and traveling is no exception. Patients can carry low-THC/high-CBD oil, but they’re not allowed to travel with it to another state. Doing so is treated as marijuana trafficking.

Is buying weed online an option in Tennessee?

No. You can’t buy marijuana online because it’s illegal in Tennessee. The only cannabis products you can buy online are hemp-derived derived CBD oil and delta 8 THC.

Is CBD oil from hemp legal in Tennessee?

Yes. CBD oil is legal in all 50 states under the 2018 Farm Bill. The new law removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, reclassifying it as an agricultural commodity.

Related: Is CBD Legal in Tennessee?

Hemp farmers can now grow and sell hemp for any use, including paper, clothes, ropes, construction materials, biofuel, food, and health supplements like CBD oil.

I recommend buying CBD oil online for the same reason I recommend doing so with delta 8 products — more opportunities to research your potential vendors and lower prices on high-quality products.

Buying Weed in Tennessee: Bottom Line

Residents of Tennessee don’t need to hold their breath. Cannabis legalization isn’t a priority for the current government, and despite a few efforts from activists, nothing seems to change any time soon.

Even if you’re a medical marijuana patient, your options are limited to low-THC/high-CBD oil, which you can’t acquire because Tennessee doesn’t have the infrastructure to supply the medicine.

So far, the only way to legally enjoy the benefits of psychoactive cannabinoids in Tennessee is to look for hemp-derived delta 8 THC. Such products are federally legal, and you can easily find them locally and online.

Just make sure to source your delta 8 products from reputable manufacturers that provide relevant third-party lab reports on the product’s potency and purity.

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.