This week, two Democratic legislators in Tennessee introduced a bill that would legalize both medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana in the state. The bill is known as “Making All Cannabis Free for Tennessee Laws” (HB0085), introduced in the House on Tuesday by Rep. Bob Freeman and endorsed by fellow Democratic Senator Heidi Campbell.
“This bill supports medical and recreational cannabis use because many other states already use recreational cannabis.” Campbell said In a statement quoted by local media.
Bill legalizes possession of up to 60 grams of weed
If passed, the measure would legalize the possession, use, and transportation of up to 60 grams of marijuana or up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrate for adults 21 and older. The measure also legalizes home cultivation of up to 12 cannabis plants by adults in the safety of their homes. Under the bill, parents and legal guardians would also be allowed to administer medical cannabis products to minor children with a doctor’s approval.
“Full legalization of cannabis statewide.” Freeman pointed out in a statement last month.
The bill also legalizes commercial cannabis activities and forces the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to draft regulations to govern the cultivation, processing and sale of cannabis and cannabis products in the state. The bill says more than 30 states have legalized marijuana in some form and Tennessee must follow suit “to remain competitive domestically and globally in the burgeoning cannabis industry.” says. Legislators also noted that legal cannabis is readily available in the five states that border Tennessee.
“If people can drive to Indiana and get cannabis across the border, it makes no sense for us in Tennessee to miss out on that economic advantage,” Campbell said.
Tennessee still bans all marijuana
Tennessee is one of the few states that has yet to pass laws legalizing marijuana, even for medical use. Freeman said legalizing recreational marijuana would put an end to the disproportionate enforcement of laws banning cannabis possession and use.
“If you live in a wealthy part of the state and a wealthy community in our city and you’re picked up using cannabis for personal consumption, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get a slap on the wrist and nothing will happen. It’s expensive,” he said last month. If you live in a poor neighborhood and have cannabis, you’ll go to jail. “
Legal pot available in neighboring states
Three of Tennessee’s neighbors—Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama—have legalized medical marijuana, while neighbors Missouri and Virginia have legalized both medical marijuana and cannabis for adult use. Proponents of legalization argue that Tennessee is missing tax revenue from the money residents spend on cannabis in neighboring states.
“Let’s not assume that people aren’t getting cannabis across the border from other states. Of course they are,” Campbell said. “So that’s the income we’re missing out on.”
Tennessee Democrats Support Legalization
Freeman and Campbell’s proposal is supported by fellow Democrats in the Tennessee legislature. House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemons praised the bill last month after announcing plans to introduce it.
“Cannabis legalization in Tennessee has been long awaited. “Let’s do it in 2023!”
Previous attempts to legalize marijuana in Tennessee have faced stiff opposition from Republican lawmakers, who hold firm majorities in both the state Senate and House of Representatives. Noting that CBD is being legalized nationwide, he said he opposes both medical marijuana and cannabis for adult use.
“I’m not at all for recreational marijuana. I have a lot of concerns about medical marijuana until we have more details,” Briggs said. “I don’t think it should be available to the public. And at least at this point, until something changes.”
Despite Republican opposition, Freeman rates the likelihood that the Tennessee legislature will legalize marijuana this year at a “certain 7, 7.5” out of 10.
“Pretty low. I won’t give numbers, but I have no delusions that I will pass this session.”
However, Campbell added that the introduction of legislation remains crucial to moving the debate about cannabis policy reform forward.
“We did it last session, and I think it’s important to do it to keep the issue alive and the message going,” she said. “Obviously it happens at some point, so we keep knocking on that door until someone opens it.”