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Winds of change on marijuana aren't blowing in Tennessee

Considering the shifts in the social landscape seen in the past few years, it may be tempting to think that attitudes are evolving at lightening speeds. That may be true in some cases. The legalizing of same-sex marriage happened quickly. The same cannot be said when it comes to legalizing marijuana, at least not in Tennessee.

Medical marijuana is now legally available in a good number of states. A few states have even gone so far as to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. All forms of marijuana are still illegal under federal law. The same is true in Tennessee, and that doesn't seem likely to change anytime in the immediate future.

What that means is that if you are caught with as little as a half-ounce of marijuana on your person, you could face at least a Class A misdemeanor charge. If you're convicted, you could be looking at a minimum fine of $250, jail time, and more. Then, there is the potential negative impact to your future that comes with having a record.

That same half-ounce of marijuana could lead to you being charged with a felony if authorities believe they have sufficient evidence to suspect you were selling, or intended to sell the product. Penalties for conviction are steeper than for a misdemeanor, to be sure. And if you are a professional who needs a state license, your ability to practice could be lost.

The time may come that Tennessee joins other states in decriminalizing marijuana. That day is not yet here. To protect your rights and minimize any possible disruption to your life and that of your family, consult with an experienced attorney to know your options.

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