TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Nov 16, 2016

Laws passed by Nashville and Memphis that give police the discretion to hand out lighter civil citations for possession of small amounts of marijuana violate state statute and therefore are not enforceable, according to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, the Tennessean reports. In an opinion released today, Slatery said the local ordinances are preempted by state law, which classifies possession of small amounts of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. This afternoon, Memphis officials said they will suspend enforcement of their new ordinance while they review the matter. Initial reactions, however, downplayed the impact of the opinion with some saying it does not have the weight of law or the courts and others saying they doubted anyone would ever challenge the local law. The Commercial Appeal has more.