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Is CBD Legal in Tennessee? Ask an Expert

Is CBD Legal in Tennessee? Ask an Expert

Posted by Jim Higdon on Oct 31st 2020

Is CBD Oil Legal in Tennessee?

Nashville is a rival to cities like New Orleans and Las Vegas as a “party-town” destination. Tiara-clad brides-to-be and their bridal parties in matching t-shirts roam the bars of Broadway like they are on a scavenger hunt for tequila shots. But despite this lax attitude towards public intoxication, Tennessee has traditionally been more conservative when it comes to cannabis and hemp products. Even though hemp is legal, one has to wonder, "Is it legal to possess CBD oil in Tennessee?"

Despite the party-down atmosphere in cities like Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville, the state's marijuana laws are quite strict. There are no medical marijuana programs in Tennessee, and marijuana plant possession is still criminalized. But Tennessee’s laws concerning CBD products and hemp flower have become surprisingly modernized. Here is everything you need to know about getting CBD oil in Tennessee.

Tennessee Hemp Farming History

Industrial hemp was a staple crop in Tennessee before the Civil War. But competition from Kentucky hemp growers soon ended industrial hemp farming in Tennessee, as Kentucky seemed better suited for the crop.1 The hemp cultivation that remained in the state was confined to the counties of eastern Tennessee.2 In the 20th century, Tennessee enacted strict laws against any form of cannabis, including hemp.

Media campaigns driven by racism led to the criminalization of all forms of cannabis and hemp according to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Cannabis was unfairly placed on the Schedule I class of drugs which includes dangerous opioids like heroin.

As the public views towards cannabis changed in the late 20th century, states began to reform their laws regarding cannabis possession. Some states enacted medical marijuana programs. Several cities have decriminalized marijuana possession. Then there are states that made cannabis legal all together. Tennessee isn't so keen to follow suit, though.

Tennessee and Marijuana Laws

As of November 2020, Tennessee is one of only 14 states that has not authorized medical marijuana. Only CBD products with low THC may be prescribed for medical patients with certain conditions.3

Not only is the marijuana plant still illegal in 2020, it also has not been decriminalized in any part of the state. Tennessee is currently one of only 19 states that continues to penalize simple possession of cannabis with jail time. Possession of a half-ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by nearly a year of incarceration.4

These draconian marijuana laws do not reflect the sentiments of the citizens of the Volunteer State. A Middle State Tennessee poll conducted in 2018 showed that most Tennesseans were dramatically in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, even way back then. According to The Tennessean’s reporting of the poll results, “On the legalization of marijuana, 81 percent of Tennessee voters polled supported legalization to some extent, 37 percent said marijuana should be legal for personal use, while 44 percent said marijuana should only be legal for medicinal purposes. Sixteen percent said marijuana should remain illegal altogether.”5

Back in 2016, the mayors of Memphis and Nashville attempted to decriminalize small amounts of recreational marijuana. The councils of the two largest cities in the state passed ordinances that would allow an officer to charge someone in possession of marijuana with a civil infraction, which carries no jail time, rather than arrest and charge them. But, later that year the state legislature passed a bill that repealed those local marijuana decriminalization laws. The bill said, “state government law preempts local government enactments with respect to the regulation of and appropriate sanctions for conduct involving drugs and other similar substances.”6

In general, support for legalizing recreational marijuana or even medical marijuana has been minimal. In 2020, Sen. Steve Dickerson, a Republican who often voted with the Democrats, and the state’s most passionate supporter of medical marijuana legalization, lost his seat to Democrat Heidi Campbell.7

As with so many other states, the politics and social issues around cannabis legislation are subject to injustice and unfairness. An ACLU report revealed that in 2018, “black individuals were arrested at more than three times the rate of white individuals in Tennessee, despite the fact that both races consume marijuana at about the same rate.”8

Tennessee & CBD Laws

The Farm Bill of 2018 redefined cannabis plants containing trace amounts of less than 0.3% THC as "hemp". This made high-CBD hemp legal under federal law, removing it from the controlled substances list. This allowed hemp derived CBD oil to saturate the American health and wellness market.

Therefore, it's legal to have CBD oil in Tennessee. To sell CBD oil legally, it must less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC in order to be legally sold or purchased.

So, feel free to bring your own CBD oil on your next visit to Music Row, Dollywood, or the Grand Ole Opry. Additionally, you can buy CBD cannabis oil in Tennessee at dedicated CBD retailers, boutiques, and pharmacies.

Here’s the crazy thing — despite the fact that marijuana remains criminalized in Tennessee, CBD flower from the hemp plant is perfectly legal. Hemp flower looks and smells just like marijuana, except with low amounts of THC at less than 0.3%. Many of the shops in Tennessee that sell CBD oils also sell CBD flower, and CBD pre-rolled joints. The only way to tell the difference between legal hemp flower and illegal marijuana is with a laboratory test.

Can I Get CBD Oil Mailed to Me in Tennessee?

Yes! Buying CBD oil online is totally legally, and the US Postal Service will gladly deliver it to your mailbox without any risk.9 Online purchasing is the safest way to shop for CBD oil, even in Tennessee. Purchasing online allows you to take your time to do research on the brands and options available to you.

Online reviews can be helpful in your decision-making, as well as third-party lab reports. Some CBD brands, like Cornbread Hemp, located in neighboring Kentucky, post third-party lab reports for every batch of their CBD products.

CBD in Tennessee: Conclusions

Laws and regulations concerning CBD in Tennessee conform to federal law as laid out in the Farm Bill. So, purchasing or possessing full spectrum CBD oil is legal in Tennessee. But as raucous and party-oriented as Music City, the Birthplace of Rock n Roll, and the home of the Volunteers may be, this laissez-faire attitude does not extend to the state government’s position on cannabis.

Tennessee’s conservative legislature shows few signs of opening the doors wider to medical marijuana use. And making recreational marijuana legal in Tennessee isn't even on the horizon. While CBD oil and CBD products are available from specialty stores across Tennessee, the safest way for hemp cannabis consumers to procure CBD products is to purchase them online from a retailer you can trust.

When shopping online, you can look over the lab report for the product you are looking at, and you can check reviews from other customers. Look for USDA certified organic, non-GMO products with hemp derived CBD oils, like those offered by Cornbread Hemp. We work with Kentucky organic hemp farmers to provide the best organic CBD oil and CBD products possible, made from just the CBD potent hemp flowers-only. Safe and legal delivery is available via the USPS.

About the Author

Jim Higdon, Co-founder

a native of Lebanon, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Centre College, Brown University, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jim published Cornbread Mafia in 2012, full author bio here.

References

1.

Killebrew, Joseph. “Introduction to the Resources of Tennessee, Volume 2” Tennessee Bureau of Agriculture. Published 1874, page 832. Accessed: 2 Dec 2020: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Introduction_to_the_Resources_of_Tenness/5AYoAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=tennessee+hemp&pg=PA832&printsec=frontcover

2.

History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present, published 1886. Page 244. Accessed 2 Dec 2020: https://www.google.com/books/edition/History_of_Tennessee_from_the_Earliest_T/eiVEAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

3, 4, 6, 8.

“Tennessee's cannabis laws lag behind other states.” Marijuana Policy Project. Published: 10 Nov. 2020. Accessed: 30 Nov. 2020. https://www.mpp.org/states/tennessee/ 

5.

Buie, Jordan. “Most Tennesseans support 'Dreamers,' some marijuana legalization, MTSU Poll says.” The Tennessean. Pub: 9 April 2018. Accessed: 30 Nov. 2020. https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/04/09/most-tennesseans-support-immigrants-dreamers-some-marijuana-legalization-mtsu-poll-says/498745002/ 

7.

Hammond, Rebekah. “Heidi Campbell beats incumbent Steve Dickerson for District 20 state senate seat.” News Channel 5 Nashville. Pub: 4 Nov. 2020. Accessed: 30 Nov. 2020. https://www.newschannel5.com/news/election/heidi-campbell-beats-incumbent-steve-dickerson-for-district-20-state-senate-seat 

9.

US Postal Service. “Publication 52 Revision: New Mailability Policy for Cannabis and Hemp-Related Products” Effective: June 6, 2019. Accessed: 19 Nov 2020: https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2019/pb22521/html/updt_002.htm 

All rights reserved. The statements made regarding CBD products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of CBD products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. CBD products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any CBD products. 

Cornbread Hemp works with suppliers who guarantee an equal to or less than 0.3% THC content. With these trace amounts of THC in our cannabis oil, it is possible that users may fail a drug test. Cornbread Hemp does not take any responsibility in the instance a customer fails a drug test while using our full spectrum CBD products.

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