At this moment, both the Tennessee House of Representatives and Senate are taking up mirroring bills that would change a whole bunch of stuff as it relates to simple possession of marijuana. Senate Bill 1211 and House Bill 873 are currently scheduled for action next week. I just started reviewing the bills so I could try and figure out what the real changes are and see if the changes, if passed, would even matter. The answer is a big fat YES!
If the bills pass into law, possessing an ounce or less of marijuana would be C misdemeanors which carry a punishment of, get this, a fine of $100 only. ONLY! That is it. Because it is only subject to a fine, the only thing an officer can do to you is write you a ticket for it. No arrest. No bond money to get out of jail. No picture on the internet of your booking photo. And if you even bother to go to court, only thing you have to do is pay a fine and costs.
Think about that for a second or two. No attorney fees. No probation. No missing work to report to probation. No probation fees. No drug screens. No worried about all the things you can be violated for when you are on probation. Think of the time and money the average person will save because they got caught one time. Think of the jobs not lost.
Now think about this. Do you really think these bills have a chance of being passed in Tennessee this year? Next year? Ten years from now? We can't even get a medical marijuana bill passed in Tennessee, which according to a recent MTSU poll somewhere in the neighborhood of 70% of Tennesseans support, how will we ever get decriminalization. Criminal defense attorneys, bondsmen, and the criminal justice system as a whole can rest assured business will still be good in the state of Tennessee when it comes to marijuana.