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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

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Still One Toke Over The Line In Davidson County

Davidson County's attempt to "legalize Marijuana" falls short of the mark and it could leave some citizens trapped in the gray area of being charged under local statute or state law.

In a 35-3 vote, the Metro Council approved a bill that allows officers to give someone a $50 fine and community service if they are found with less than a half ounce of marijuana.  I recently read an article published by Channel 2 news that stated: "This changes the current laws where people charged with marijuana possession face a misdemeanor with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Metro-Nashville counsel cannot change state law. Marijuana has not been legalized in Davidson County. In fact, while it may have been the intent of Davidson County to do, they have actually given police more authority that may not help citizens. What the city counsel actually did was to add a penalty for possession of marijuana where one did not exist within Metro-Nashville ordinances. The change did nothing to affect Tennessee state law which permits a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, a minimum fine of $250.00 up to $2500.00. Depending on their mood and perception of your demeanor, officers now simply have the option of charging you with either the Metro-Nashville ordinance or under the more harsh state law.

As correctly stated by councilman Steve Glover: “That does not mean if you come into Davidson County and you have a half ounce of marijuana or below that you are safe. You get pulled over by the wrong officer, you can still get handcuffed, you can still go to jail.” 

It is also possible the poor reporting of the change could lead people to believe that Metro-Nashville has de-criminalized marijuana, which could then lead people to believe it is not crime when it very much is a crime. Practicing in courts all around Davidson County, I can assure you every other county still very much views marijuana possession as crime for which you face jail time. If a citizen were to be given a citation under the new ordinance, it could still trigger probation and parole violations if the person were under such supervision.

The intent of the ordinance may have been to allow officers more discretion, however it certainly has not changed state law or probation\parole guidelines so, citizens beware, marijuana is still illegal in Tennessee.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom





LANNOM & WILLIAMS
137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457

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