Tennessee Bill to End Jail Time for Cannabis Possession Passes House Committee
Tennessee’s House Finance, Ways & Means Committee has passed House Bill 0873, a proposal to end the possibility of jail for the possession and exchange of up to an ounce of cannabis.
Under current Tennessee law, someone caught possessing or sharing up to half an ounce of cannabis can be hit with a misdemeanor charge, and placed in jail for up to a year (the maximum penalty increases to 6 years for a person’s third offense). Someone in possession of over half an ounce is guilty of a felony, and can spend up to 6 years in prison.
Under House Bill 0873, the possession and “casual exchange” of up to an ounce of cannabis would reduced to a class A misdemeanor, punishable by an $100 ticket, but no jail time. Although no amount of subsequent offenses for possession of an ounce or less can lead to jail time, a person would be required to partake in community service at a treatment center after their third offense.
After being passed by the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee, House Bill 0873 now takes one step closer towards a full House vote, where its passage will send it to the Senate for consideration.