Law Office of David L. Scott

Tennessee Lawmaker Seeks to Ban Decriminalization of Marijuana

Tennessee is the latest state to feel the struggle related to the decriminalization of marijuana with local, state and federal laws in conflict. A republican lawmaker has already filed a bill that would effectively repeal any city ordinances that provide for a lighter sentence for individuals convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana.

Nashville and Memphis notably passed ordinances in 2016 that would provide for reduced sentences for this crime. The cities specifically provided for the right of police officers to issue a simple citation that would bring about a $50 fine or community service if a law enforcement officer caught someone with less than an ounce of marijuana in his or her possession. This punishment would be in lieu of any arrest of the suspect. The move parallels that across the country to minimize the criminalization of marijuana. However, the state Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued an official opinion in which he stated that these ordinances were in conflict with state law, specifically the Tennessee Drug Control Act of 1989.

The lawmaker behind the ban is Republican House Criminal Justice Chairman William Lambert of Gallatin. If passed, the bill would supersede the rules regarding ordinances that were recently passed. Ultimately, it would invalidate the previously issued ordinances and state that any future ordinances of a similar nature would be invalid. This would have the likely result of increasing the penalties of people caught with a small amount of marijuana and continuing the criminalization of marijuana.

Across the country, cities, states and the federal government is being pinned against each other in relation to the topic of the criminalization of marijuana. Some are pushing for new definitions and an acceptance of the common drug. Others are holding onto the existing definitions and associated punishments with marijuana.

Being convicted of any drug in Tennessee can result in significant penalties, including incarceration, community services, fines, probation and acquiring a criminal record. Drug convictions can result in a person being denied certain jobs, housing or educational opportunities. If a person is facing a possible conviction for possession of marijuana, it is important that he or she contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. He or she analyzes the evidence to determine possible defenses and negotiates favorable plea agreements with prosecutors, attempting to eliminate or substantially decrease any period of incarceration.

If you have been arrested for marijuana, contact Tennessee criminal defense attorney David L. Scott at the Law Office of David L. Scott immediately to review your case and determine the best course of legal action to minimize penalties. To schedule a free consultation Call (615) 896-7656 or contact us. Offices in Murfreesboro and Nashville.

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