2017 BONNAROO MUSIC FESTIVAL & TENNESSEE’S MARIJUANA CONCENTRATE LAWS

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There has been a nationwide boom in the popularity of marijuana concentrates or extracts in the past several years.  Whether it is the ease of use, perceived health benefits, or increased potency, marijuana concentrates have increased their foothold in the marijuana market. Often times these marijuana concentrates are consumed in electric pens that look and smell similar to the devices used to consume tobacco oils and waxes. This has caused problems for law enforcement in the states where marijuana and marijuana concentrates remain illegal due to how discreetly these products can be carried and consumed.   This also makes these products the top choice for people attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival. 

 

Marijuana Concentrates

Marijuana concentrates and extracts go by a variety of names such as oil, wax, live resin, honey oil, shatter, press, or dabs. Regardless of the difference in the product of nomenclature, marijuana concentrates include any product produced by the extraction of THC from marijuana.   Concentrates remain categorized under T.C.A. 39-17-415 – Schedule VI – under the general category Marijuana or Tetrahyrdocannibanols (THC).  Based on my experience, if a citizen possesses a very small amount of marijuana concentrates or a pen with marijuana oil or wax they are usually charged under T.C.A 39-17-418 – Simple Possession/Casual Exchange – Class A Misdemeanor, and face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, with a maximum fine of $2,500.00. 

However, under 39-17-417, Tennessee law states that a person who possesses not more than 2 pounds (905 grams) of a non-leafy, resinous material containing tetrahyrdocannabinols is a Class E Felony, 1-6 years in jail and maximum fine of $5,000.00.  This appears to cover marijuana extracts and concentrates due to the broad category of tetrahyrdocannabinols and resinous material description and could result in felony charges if you possess more than a personal consumption amount of marijuana concentrates.

 

Felony Possession of Marijuana Concentrates

Possessing large amounts of marijuana concentrates, in any form, will likely result in felony charges.  T.C.A. 39-17-417 states that possessing 2-4 pounds of hashish or a controlled substance defined as a non-leafy, resinous material containing tetrahyrdocannabinols is a Class D felony, 2-12 years in jail, maximum fine of $50,000.00; 4-8 pounds is a Class C felony, 3-15 years in jail, maximum fine of $100,000.00; 8-15 pounds is a Class B felony, 8-30 years in jail, maximum fine of $200,000.00; and more than 15 pounds is a Class A felony, 15-60 years in jail, maximum fine of $500,000.00.

  

Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-455

Prior to 2016, extracting marijuana concentrates was not specifically designated as a crime under Tennessee Law.  However, effective July 1, 2016, T.C.A. 39-17-455 now defines and lists the penalties for extracting marijuana concentrates.  This would include festival goers at Bonnaroo who attempt to manufacture marijuana concentrates in their vehicle or at their campsite.

Under T.C.A. 39-17-455 (b), it is an offense for a person to knowingly manufacture marijuana concentrate by a process, which includes use of an inherently hazardous substance.  The new law defines an “inherently hazardous substance” as any liquid chemical, compressed gas or commercial product that has a flash point at or lower than 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  A list of commonly used solvents this law would cover includes: Ethanol (Everclear), Isopropyl Alcohol, Propane, CO2, Ether and Butane.  A violation of T.C.A. 39-17-455 (b) is a Class E Felony. 

Additionally, under T.C.A. 39-17-455 (c), it is an offense for any person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls the use of any premises to knowingly allow marijuana concentrates to be manufactured on the premises by a process that includes use of an inherently hazardous substance.  A violation of T.C.A. 39-17-455 (c) is a Class A Misdemeanor.  It is unclear if this extends to campsites or vehicles.

 

Conclusion

Possessing marijuana concentrates in any form, using any method, is illegal in Tennessee and will result in criminal charges so long as the concentrate contains tetrahyrdocannibanol (THC). While it may be tempting to carry your G-pen or dab rig into Bonnaroo, if you are caught while entering the Bonnaroo Music Festival or while attending, you may be arrested on felony charges. 

Additionally, not only can manufacturing these products in a non-laboratory setting be dangerous for even the experienced person, it is also now illegal under Tennessee law. 

Please be safe and responsible and if you are charged with violating the marijuana concentrate law in Tennessee, remain silent and contact our office.

 

Joseph Fuson, Esq. – Partner and Trial Attorney at Freeman & Fuson

Trial Lawyer