Tennessee Legal Information
In 2014, Tennessee legislators passed SB 2531, which changes the definition of marijuana to create a legal exception for the possession and use of low-THC, CBD-rich cannabis oil solely by patients with intractable seizures. The law authorizes a state university to grow and manufacture the oil, which can have no more than 0.9% THC.
In 2016, the Tennessee legislature passed HB 2144 that clarified that patients may possess CBD oils with no more than 0.9% THC if they have “a legal order or recommendation” and they or an immediate family member have been diagnosed with epilepsy by a Tennessee doctor.
In This Section
Tennessee’s medical cannabis legislation took effect in April 2014, creating an extremely narrow legal exception that does not protect the vast majority of residents. Under the law, licensed physicians can recommend cannabis oil with less than 0.9% THC to treat severe seizure disorders. However, cannabis can only be legally produced and manufactured by a University in Putnam County as part of an approved clinical research study, effectively hampering supply.
Medical cannabis patients in Tennessee must be enrolled in an approved clinical trial in order to receive legal protection. To take part in a research program, patients must have uncontrolled seizures and be under the care of a physician who is practicing at a medical facility that is affiliated with a University school of medicine.
Physicians affiliated with a University school of medicine may conduct a clinical research study on cannabis therapy for intractable seizures. Research findings must be reported to the Tennessee General Assembly by January 2018. This section includes a basic overview of requirements for recommending clinicians and links to other educational resources.
The law does not provide for legal protections to caregivers.
Unfortunately, patients, caregivers, and providers are still vulnerable to federal and state arrests, prosecutions, and incarceration. They also suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care.