If the amount of marijuana is less than half an ounce, there is a chance that in Tennessee, any chargest against the person who has it will be dropped.

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) memo was sent to police figures to alter the way these drug cases are prosecuted.

While the memo doesn’t decriminalize marijuana, there is a good chance there will not be criminal prosecution if the person has a small amount of marijuana on them.

“We’re going to have a lot of officers upset if they charge cases and they go to court and the cases are dismissed,” said defense attorney Kevin Teets.

Teets has cited a recent marijuana case in west Tennessee where a judge based his decision on TBI’s new policy.

“The judge dismissed the case the first time the client was in court,” said Teets. “No prosecution at all.”

The TBI memo states that the testing in marijuana cases will “only be performed on felony amounts of plant material and at District Attorney’s request if needed for trial.”

On Tuesday the TBI released the following statement:

In late August, District Attorneys General and Law Enforcement across the state received notification from our Forensic Services Division of additional testing to differentiate between hemp and marijuana. The letter explains the two tests that are now conducted to identify the presumptive determination of the sample. The TBI crime laboratories are on pace to receive more than 10,000 submissions of green leafy substance and Forensic Scientists are now conducting considerably more tests than in the past. Determining the quantity of THC requires yet another test, which will be conducted on all felony amounts of plant material that is presumptively marijuana, and any other submissions as requested by a District Attorney General, to include misdemeanor amounts. We currently test misdemeanor amounts and will continue to test misdemeanor amounts at the request of the District Attorneys General.

The intent of the letter, which you can download by clicking this link, was simply to notify the District Attorneys and Law Enforcement of additional developed testing and to clearly communicate the importance of prioritizing the need for quantification for prosecution.

TBI remains opposed to the legalization of marijuana in any form.

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