Know your rights when it comes to CBD possession
In 2017 the Tennessee legislature fully legalized the use and sale of hemp-based CBD oil that contains less than 0.3% THC. The legalized CBD industry touts itself as offering a product that is great for your health and for the economy by creating a new market of CBD stores that sell a variety of CBD products such as CBD oil.
However, CBD products can create complicated situations if you ever find yourself in possession of CBD products while being the subject of a police stop because CBD products (legal) and marijuana (still illegal in Tennessee) share similar characteristics. Most notably both CBD products and marijuana have a similar smell and, especially in the flower form, both can look very similar.
CBD is legal in Tennessee but could be mistaken for illegal marijuana
So what does this mean for users of CBD oil who are pulled over by police? In the context of a vehicular stop police officers often rely on “the distinct odor of marijuana” as a basis to further their investigations, as an excuse to search vehicles, and even as a factual basis used by officers to support a Driving Under the Influence investigation or charge. This is because if police believe they smell the odor of marijuana coming from your car then your car will (likely) be searched on that basis alone. At the very least, you may catch the unwanted heightened attention of a police officer during an otherwise routine traffic stop.
Under current Tennessee law, generally speaking, the police may conduct a warrantless search of your car and of any containers in the car if they have probable cause to search the vehicle. The smell of marijuana has historically been held to be a valid factual basis used to support police officer’s probable cause to investigate the source, location, quantity, etc. of the odor of marijuana. To this extent, depending on the specific facts of your case, the scope of the search may be conducted of all locations within the car that could potentially hold the marijuana.
Don’t open yourself up to a warrantless vehicle search
So now you’re asking: “Wait, I thought CBD oil is legal, why does this subject myself and my car to a search by the police?” It all boils down to the smell of marijuana. Local police departments are supposed to be trained to recognize the smell of both fresh and burnt marijuana, but police are unable to distinguish the smell of fresh or burnt marijuana from that of CBD products. Even worse, if you possess the flower form of CBD, officers may see and smell a substance that, to them, is marijuana. In turn this may lead the officers to searching your entire vehicle, charging or arresting you for possessing a substance that is legal but that to them looks and smells like its not, or being used against you to support charges in addition to possession charges.
If you do find yourself charged for possessing CBD that is mistaken as marijuana, or for possessing marijuana that is marijuana, then give us a call today. Know your rights!
If you have been charged or arrested for a driving offense, Driving Under the Influence, or possession of drugs, in Williamson County, Franklin, Davidson County, Nashville, or the Middle Tennessee area then give Legal Powers, PLLC a call to set up a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case with a knowledgeable attorney and to see why Legal Powers, PLLC, is the attorney you want to have on your side fighting for you in court.
The information in this website is not legal advice. Visiting our website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The information provided above is intended to be used for informational purposes only and we hope it may assist in understanding the evaluation of your case when speaking with a Tennessee attorney.