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Tennessee is considering new marijuana laws

From basic controlled substances to misused prescription painkillers, drugs have caused a lot of damage to individual lives and society as a whole. Many jurisdictions in the United States, including Nashville and the state of Tennessee, are taking a fresh look at how they approach law violations related to drug possession and drug use.

Marijuana is at the forefront of these changes. The psychotropic plant had been illegal in every form for nearly a century when some states and cities reassessed how to best serve the population. New laws and law enforcement methods were changed less by a new look at the effects of marijuana and more by the consequences of the old approach for minor offenders and others connected to them.

The government in Knoxville is considering House Bill 256, which would lower the criminal penalty for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana plant material. This would mean police would issue a summons for possession on a small scale instead of an arrest and a criminal charge.

There have been no changes on drug laws at the federal level, but states and cities are largely in charge of enforcement. "The more a state tolerates the use of marijuana through either medical marijuana, decriminalization or outright legalization, the more pressure there will be for federal law enforcement to stay out of it," according to a Tennessee law professor.

People charged with minor crimes and facing prosecution have the right to protect their names, families and careers with a legal defense. An attorney is most likely the best provider of advice and can work toward developing a successful defense against criminal charges.

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