The Tennessee criminal defense lawyers at Freeman & Fuson are skilled litigators dedicated to defending your rights. For over 25 years, we have helped clients fight the bogus arrests and convictions stemming from unfair drug laws. Located in Nashville, Mark Freeman and Joseph Fuson battle alleged marijuana offenses and advocate for the reform of marijuana laws.Marijuana: The Poster-Child of America's War on Drugs
Marijuana has been used for years to treat a host of medical conditions, from pain and nausea to anxiety and insomnia. But its therapeutic benefits are always overshadowed by the propaganda fueling America's "drug war." Since the inception of this "war," the criminal laws prohibiting marijuana have failed to stem its use. Despite over 20 million arrests for marijuana offenses in the past five years, statistics show that over 30 million Americans used the drug in 2010 alone. Across the country, police continue to arrest 100 people every hour, even if they are licensed to use, carry, or sell medical marijuana. These arrests and convictions are based on outdated drug laws that arbitrarily distinguish between "medicinal" and "street" varieties (they are the same) and impose sentences disproportionate to the crime.The Battle to Decriminalize a Therapeutic Drug
Many states looked at the statistics and determined they should not be punishing the sick and the dying. If doctors prescribe marijuana to ease the discomfort of cancer or AIDS, patients should have access to medicine. While marijuana is not an FDA-approved drug, THC--the therapeutic cannabinoid found in all marijuana--is. After basic cost-benefit analyses, many states have joined the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to decriminalize the unfair rules that prosecute innocent people and waste tax dollars. Although a recent poll shows that 56% of Americans believe we should legalize and tax marijuana, state and federal laws have not followed: only seven states have passed or are trying to pass laws to legalize medical marijuana. Tennessee tried to pass a reform bill that failed in 2012.Marijuana Offenses in Tennessee
Tennessee imposes severe penalties for marijuana offenses. Under state law, convictions for possession of a ½ ounce or less are punishable by longer sentences than under federal law. A third conviction for possession is punishable by up to 6 years in prison. Convictions for sale are similarly based on weight, with 300 pounds or more carrying a maximum sentence of 60 years. Compared to other drug offenses and violent crimes, these terms are unnecessarily severe and punish the wrong people. Both federal and state laws target a specific demographic and result in discriminatory penalties for the same offense. Fortunately, NORML Tennessee has recently launched a pro-reform campaign for new state legislation allowing patient access to medical cannabis. Mr. Fuson, an active NORML Legal Committee Attorney, supports this reform.What To Do If You Are Arrested For A Marijuana Offense In Tennessee
First, use common sense. Do not leave marijuana or drug paraphernalia in plain view where police can see it. Also remember that the smell carries, so law enforcement can detect marijuana from far away. Second, know your rights. Police are intimidating, but they do not have authority to violate your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures or your Fifth Amendment right to keep silent and be represented by counsel. Remember that you never have to consent to a search or answer questions alone. In fact, police cannot even detain or apprehend you unless you are under arrest.
If you are accused of a marijuana offense, the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Freeman & Fuson can help. We have successfully defended clients against marijuana offenses for over 25 years and are devoted to protecting your rights. Blazing a trail in creative advocacy, we not only smoke the competition in court, but stand at the forefront of legislative reform. We fight for your freedom and justice, not the unfair drug laws that threaten them. Call 615.298.7272 or contact us online.