Tennessee Cannabis and Marijuana License

Tennessee Cannabis and Marijuana License

Even though the hemp industry is thriving many people cannot say that Tennessee is cannabis-friendly. We look at the most up-to-date information about its attempt at decriminalization of marijuana.

Legalization attempts

The path to legalizing cannabis use has been complex in this part of the country. As of winter 2022, TN is 1 of the states that does not allow adult use of marijuana. This part of the world has also been slow in passing laws that allow its utilization for recreational and medicinal purposes. For example, weed is illegal.

As of 2021, the legislature enacted a law that initiated the creation of a study commission and brought several amendments. Yet, weed utilization is still illegal for recreational purposes. Otherwise, its possession is considered a misdemeanor or felony. That is to say, it is a criminal act.

Medical instances of marijuana usage

Now Tennessee is among 37 states where medical cannabis became legal with some restrictions. But unlike California which was the first to legalize it, TN just recently incorporated amendments. Only on the 27th of May, 2021 their governor signed a bill that brought several changes.

For example, the bill increased the number of qualifying conditions for the medical drug. Secondly, the law allowed patients to obtain cannabis oil. However, it set a limitation on its major psychoactive compound – THC. Cardholders can obtain only cannabidiol products with a maximum of 0.9% THC.

To qualify for this type of permit card a person must:

    • Be 18 and above. In other cases, a parent, caregiver, or guardian is necessary.
    • Have one of the following medical conditions or intractable seizures such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy and other seizures, HIV or AIDS, sickle cell illness, and later stages of cancer. Previously, only epilepsy and other incurable seizures could get permission for usage.
    • Obtain an official certificate of that condition from a certified Tennessee doctor or physician.
    • Be a resident of Tennessee. By the way, you need to prove your residency by presenting a driver’s permit or identification card.

To be granted a card you ought to take these steps:

  1. Book an appointment for a consultation.
  2. Consult with the doctor.
  3. Get the diagnosis and certificate including a letter stating that other treatment methods have not been effective at alleviating the symptoms (note this letter is valid for 6 months).
  4. Get the prescription and buy the drugs in the dispensary.

Types of certifications

If you are an entrepreneur or a person with lots of business ideas this section is for you. The hemp industry offers many opportunities here as the state is one of its leading producers. So this rapidly increasing market opens promising prospects. However, there is a certain process you need to follow to act in the legal domain.

Marijuana growing license

Every individual or legal entity that aims to cultivate hemp in this part of the US ought to obtain a Tennessee medical cannabis and marijuana license. Nevertheless, there is no necessity for certification in case of processing it. Another key point is that the Department of Agriculture generally does not require licensing for selling processed products such as flowers or oil.


To apply for it you should read the instructions, complete an application/request and submit it either online or send it to the following email address: [email protected]. The latter consists of 3 parts:

  • Application or personal information (e.g. name, owner or legally responsible person, date of birth, phone, email, primary contacts, mailing and billing address, etc.)
  • Growing info (e.g. physical address and area, total acreage)
  • Growing area details (e.g.choosing indoor or outdoor option and so on)

If you have difficulty in completing this just look at the example prepared for you.


Take into account that all permits expire each 30th June. So you have to renew it every year before that date. Non-payment may cost you additional money.


The fees vary according to the size of the area planned to grow.

  • Less than 5 acres is $250.
  • 5-20 acres is $300.
  • More than 20 acres is $350.
  • For universities conducting research, the fees are waived.

After completing the petition you will receive an invoice with a web link in your email. Then pay via a credit or debit card. All the payments are done online.


However, keep in mind that there is a certain procedure related to inspection. Remember these rules for your convenience:

  • Usually, TDA inspects all producers’ crops and products.
  • Also, inspectors take samples from all certified locations.
  • Very importantly, inspections are free of charge and it does not evaluate chemical processes utilized by the entrepreneurs.
  • Finally, the officials may conduct monitoring at any time during working hours.

Yet, the responsible body encourages self-monitoring. In other words, you can send off samples and receive test results on your own. There are many labs for this purpose. Just google them and find the best option. However, these tests are not a substitute for TDA sampling.


Each variety and cultivation location is subject to sampling as well. In particular, a 3rd party service called Hemp Administrative Testing and Screening or HATS is responsible for this task. The plants are checked for compliance with a maximum of 0.3% THC concentration. The ones which exceed this amount are subject to stop or destruction order.

The officials conduct the sampling before harvest. Therefore, the owners are obliged to contact HATS at least 30 days before the harvest date. They can find the request form on the HATS website.

Another key point to consider is that it is the licensee who pays all the costs associated with sampling including the laboratory analysis fee.

  • The first sample is $300.
  • 2nd – 4th is $200.
  • 4th is $100.
  • The others are free.

Petition to move

Before moving your business and transporting your rooted plants to anywhere else you have to fill in a movement permit. Generally, that is done online. At present, that is not a strict requirement in all instances but entrepreneurs in the production field are strongly encouraged to do so.

Processor registration

Industrial hemp processor registration is necessary for the individual who processes this plant for distribution in commerce. In this situation, each firm or facility has to be registered.

Registration is like this: you fill in the appropriate form developed by the Division of Consumer and Industry Services.

Food manufacturing permit

Let’s say you process hemp and, as a result, you produce products for human consumption like gummies and so on. In that case, you are obligated to license your food manufacturing firm.

In this situation, you have to fill in an application and wait for the review. After that, an inspector will contact you for initial monitoring/inspection. If you are successful in this stage TDA will send an invoice to your facility. After the payment, you will receive permission.

Plant Certification Greenhouse License

This type is for those who cultivate seedlings and/or clones for selling them. All greenhouses must be licensed.

What’s important is that the application is easy. Just fill in the form and send it either via mail or email. The addresses are mentioned at the end of the form. It also mentions the fees for all categories.

Plant Dealer License

Think of attaining this permission if you want to buy and resell seedlings and clones. Wherever you sell, offer for sale, distribute plants or perform activities for commercial purposes – all these locations are subject to certifying.

Seed Sellers License

Likewise, some people or entities cultivate hemp for seeds. In these kinds of circumstances, a seed seller’s permit is a must.

Founding a cannabis dispensary

Like any other business, this also requires permission. Therefore, the first step is certifying before founding a dispensary. For that, you have to have a business plan. Note that a dispensary system regulated by the state is not allowed.

To sum it up, there are various kinds of certifications each for different goals. This is a way to regulate the sphere and decrease the extent of dangers the industry development brings.

Marine K

Marine K

Marine is an IT project manager and content writer. She has a degree in Management from YSEU. Currently she writes user friendly content for various business websites.