Is Hemp Legal in Tennessee? Is Hemp Legal in Tennessee?

Is Hemp Legal in Tennessee?

Posted by Tweedle Farms on Dec 13th 2020

Unveiling the Legality of Hemp in Tennessee

In the vibrant landscapes of Tennessee, amidst its rich musical heritage and natural beauty, a green revolution is quietly taking place. The focus of this revolution? Hemp. Known scientifically as Cannabis sativa L., hemp has been at the center of a legal and cultural shift across the United States. Tennessee, known for its agricultural prowess, has not been left behind in this shift. This article delves into the intricate tapestry of hemp's legality within the Volunteer State, addressing the concerns of industry stakeholders and consumers alike. We will explore the nuances of hemp products, CBD flower, CBG flower and even THCA flower, guiding you through the legal labyrinth and shining a light on the potential, as well as the limitations, within this burgeoning industry.

Hemp's Legal Landscape in Tennessee: A Historical Perspective

To understand the current state of hemp legality in Tennessee, it's necessary to take a step back and examine the historical context. The journey began in earnest in 2014 when the U.S. Farm Bill allowed states to start pilot programs for the cultivation of hemp flower. Tennessee was quick to embrace this opportunity, recognizing hemp's potential in revitalizing the agricultural sector and providing new economic opportunities.

The pivotal moment came in 2018 with the passing of the Agriculture Improvement Act, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill. This landmark legislation redefined hemp, distinguishing it from its psychoactive cousin, marijuana, based on its THC content. Hemp was defined as a cannabis plant containing 0.3% THC or less on a dry weight basis, effectively removing it from the Schedule I controlled substance category and opening the doors for commercial production and sale.

The Four Faces of Hemp: Hemp Flower, CBD Flower, CBG Flower, and THCA Flower

Within the hemp industry, four flower products stand out for their popularity and commercial value. Each of these products has its unique characteristics, uses, and legal considerations.

Hemp Flower

Hemp flower, also known as industrial hemp flower, refers to the buds of the hemp plant that are harvested for various uses, including the extraction of CBD. In Tennessee, hemp flower is legal to grow, process, and sell, provided it adheres to the state's regulatory framework. This includes obtaining the necessary licenses, ensuring the THC content is within the legal limit, and adhering to testing and labeling requirements.

CBD Flower

CBD flower is essentially hemp flower bred for high CBD content and minimal THC levels. The term colloquially refers to hemp flower that is used in the same way one would use THC-rich flower - smoking. In Tennessee, CBD products derived from hemp, including CBD flower, are legal. However, they must meet the federal requirement of containing less than 0.3% THC, and they are subject to strict labeling and testing standards to ensure consumer safety.

THCA Flower

THCA flower introduces a more complex legal scenario. THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is a non-psychoactive precursor to THC found in fresh cannabis plants. When heated, THCA converts to THC, the compound known for its psychoactive effects. As of now, there is limited specific legislation regarding THCA flower, making it a point of contention and uncertainty within the industry.

Navigating the Regulatory Environment: Guidance for Stakeholders

For industry stakeholders, navigating the regulatory environment is paramount. This involves a multi-faceted approach, focusing on compliance, education, and advocacy.


Compliance is the bedrock of operating within the legal bounds of the hemp industry in Tennessee. This includes:

  • Licensing: Obtaining the necessary licenses from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is the first step for any entity looking to cultivate, process, or distribute hemp products.
  • Testing: Ensuring all hemp products, including CBD flower, pre rollsCBD oils, and CBG flower, are tested by accredited labs to verify THC content and safety.
  • Labeling: Adhering to strict labeling requirements that provide consumers with transparent information regarding THC content, origin, and safety.

  • Education

    Education plays a dual role: informing consumers about the benefits and legalities of hemp products and educating policymakers about the industry's potential and challenges. Stakeholders should invest in consumer education to build trust and demystify hemp products. Simultaneously, engaging with policymakers to provide insights and data can help shape a more informed and supportive regulatory landscape.


    Advocacy is about pushing for favorable changes in the legal framework that governs hemp. This includes clarifying areas of potential illegality, such as the status of THCA flower, and advocating for regulations that support industry growth while ensuring consumer safety. Building coalitions and working with industry associations can amplify these efforts.

    Consumer Considerations: Safety, Efficacy, and Legal Awareness

    For consumers, the burgeoning hemp market in Tennessee offers a plethora of options, from wellness products like CBD topicals and CBD capsules to sustainable materials like hempcrete. However, navigating this market requires an understanding of legal considerations and a commitment to safety.

    Safety and Efficacy

    Consumers should prioritize products that are transparently labeled and third-party tested. This ensures that the products are within the legal THC threshold and free from contaminants. Additionally, while many tout the therapeutic benefits of CBD and other hemp-derived compounds, consumers should approach these claims critically and consult healthcare providers when considering hemp for medicinal purposes.

    Legal Awareness

    Understanding the nuances of hemp's legal status, including the distinctions between hemp flower, CBD flower, and THCA flower, is crucial. Consumers should stay informed about state and federal regulations, which can evolve. This knowledge is key to making informed decisions and ensuring compliance with the law.

    Looking Ahead: The Future of Hemp in Tennessee

    As Tennessee continues to navigate the complexities of the hemp industry, the future looks promising. The state's commitment to supporting agricultural innovation, coupled with a growing consumer interest in sustainable and wellness-focused products, sets the stage for hemp to be a significant economic driver.

    However, the path forward requires a collaborative effort between industry stakeholders, regulators, and consumers. Addressing legal ambiguities, particularly concerning products like THCA flower, will be crucial in fostering a stable and thriving hemp market. Through compliance, education, and advocacy, the hemp industry in Tennessee can achieve its full potential, benefiting not just those directly involved but the broader community.

    In conclusion, the legal landscape of hemp in Tennessee is a dynamic and evolving narrative. By understanding the intricacies of hemp flower, CBD flower, and THCA flower, and by navigating the regulatory environment with diligence and foresight, stakeholders and consumers can contribute to a vibrant and sustainable hemp industry in the heart of the South.