Growing Cannabis in Tennessee

Cannabis, commonly referred to as marijuana, is a plant that has been cultivated and utilized for thousands of years for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. With the gradual shift in legalization and decriminalization of cannabis across the United States, numerous states have set their specific guidelines for its cultivation. This article will specifically focus on the guidelines, climatic considerations, and cultivation practices for growing cannabis in Tennessee.

Legal Considerations in Tennessee

Personal Cultivation

As of my last update in September 2021, recreational cannabis cultivation for personal use was not legal in Tennessee. Therefore, anyone looking to grow cannabis in the state should first familiarize themselves with current state laws and potential consequences of non-compliance.

Medical Cannabis Cultivation

Tennessee had not yet established a comprehensive medical marijuana program. However, there was a push to recognize the medicinal benefits of cannabis, particularly for certain conditions. As laws and regulations evolve, potential growers should keep an eye on state legislative movements, especially as they pertain to cultivation for medical use.

It’s worth noting that penalties for illegal cultivation can be severe, including hefty fines and imprisonment, depending on the quantity being grown and the intent of distribution.

Climatic and Geographic Considerations

Climate Type

Tennessee features a humid subtropical climate. This means the state experiences hot summers and mild winters. Such a climate can be conducive for cannabis growth, particularly during the warm months. However, the high humidity levels, especially during late summer, can pose a challenge as cannabis plants are susceptible to mold and fungal diseases.

Best Time to Plant

For outdoor cultivation, the best time to plant cannabis in Tennessee would be in late April to early May, after the last expected frost. This would allow the plants to make the most of the summer’s warmth and light before the shorter days of autumn trigger the flowering phase.

Soil Quality

Tennessee’s soil varies across the state but is generally fertile and well-suited for agriculture. Growers would do well to ensure that their chosen plot has good drainage. Cannabis prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH level (between 6.0 and 7.0). Ensuring the soil meets this criterion or adjusting it accordingly will promote healthier plant growth.

Cultivation Techniques for Tennessee’s Climate

Controlling Humidity

Given Tennessee’s high humidity, growers should be proactive in preventing mold and fungus. For outdoor grows, this can mean selecting a site with good airflow, possibly on a slight slope. For indoor grows, dehumidifiers and consistent airflow using fans can be essential.

Pest Management

Like other agricultural pursuits in Tennessee, cannabis cultivation can attract pests. Natural predators, like ladybugs, can help control smaller pests. Neem oil is also a favored organic solution to deter many pests and fungal issues.

Watering Practices

While Tennessee receives a significant amount of rainfall, growers should still monitor the moisture levels of their cannabis plants. Overwatering can lead to root rot, especially in compacted soils. It’s vital to ensure the soil drains well and to water the plants when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Choosing the Right Strain

Certain cannabis strains are better suited for humid climates. When choosing a strain to grow in Tennessee, consider those known for their resistance to mold and mildew. Strains originating from similar climatic regions can also be an excellent place to start.


Growing cannabis in Tennessee comes with its unique set of challenges and considerations, mainly due to its humid subtropical climate. However, with careful planning, knowledge of state laws, and by employing proper cultivation techniques, it’s possible to have a successful cannabis cultivation experience in the state. As always, growers should continuously update themselves with the latest techniques, research, and legal stipulations related to cannabis cultivation in Tennessee.