A Republican Congressman from Florida pleaded guilty in Federal Court in Washington D.C. to a misdemeanor charge of possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to one year of probation. He bought 3.5 grams of cocaine. How would that play out in Nashville,Tn. ?

First , possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to manufacture , deliver ,or sell a controlled substance  carries 8 to12 years in jail plus a big fine. It is a felony . It carries 15 to 25 if you are within a 1000 feet of a school zone. The defense for the Congressman was it was for personal use and not for resale. According to news reports, the cocaine was bought for his own use and had sometimes shared it with others.

The reason he got a break was there was no evidence he intended to sell or deliver cocaine . Now the police might have made a case that he delivered the cocaine. Under Tennessee law , an accused can assert that he just possessed or causally exchange the cocaine to avoid felony charges. The law treats users differently from sellers. Causal exchange contemplates a spontaneous passing of a small amount of drugs where money may or may not be involved. The amount of the cocaine could be a problem for a reduction to a misdemeanor under Tennessee law.