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Tennessee Legalization Bill Goes Up In Smoke

A invoice that may have introduced sweeping hashish reform to Tennessee seems to have fallen quick on this yr’s legislative session.

Native tv station WKRN experiences that the invoice, generally known as the “Free All Hashish for Tennesseans Act,” is “successfully lifeless” after its sponsor, Democratic state Home Rep. Bob Freeman pulled the measure from the ground.

Freeman’s laws would have resulted in vital modifications in how the Volunteer State handles each leisure and medicinal hashish, each of that are unlawful in Tennessee.

It makes Tennessee stand out in an period of nationwide legalization, when one state after one other has ended prohibition.

Freeman famous that a lot of Tennessee’s neighbors have both legalized hashish in some kind or are trying to take action.

“There’s a very actual chance that, by the point we come again subsequent yr, we would be the solely state that touches Tennessee that has not accomplished some kind of legalization,” Freeman mentioned, as quoted by WKRN.

The invoice would have approved the “the possession and transport of marijuana or marijuana focus, in permitted quantities, for adults who’re at the least 21 years of age,” the “switch of marijuana or marijuana focus between adults, in permitted quantities, with out remuneration,” and the “cultivation of as much as 12 marijuana crops for adults.”

It additionally would have opened up medical hashish therapy to minors by authorizing “a mum or dad, guardian, or conservator to manage a marijuana product, excluding any flamable product, to a minor, over whom the mum or dad, guardian, or conservator has authorized authority.”

Below the laws, the state Division of Well being would have supplied a kind on its web site “that, upon execution by a mum or dad, guardian, or conservator, after session with a healthcare practitioner, creates a rebuttable presumption that the minor has a medical situation for which the usage of marijuana is therapy for any such situation.”

However Freeman’s invoice at all times had an uphill climb in Tennessee’s Republican-dominated legislature. The state’s GOP governor, Invoice Lee, has mentioned that he’s towards legalizing pot.

As Freeman sees it, Tennessee is now prone to being left within the mud, with different southern states shifting to legalize medical hashish. Mississippi legalized the therapy in February, and Alabama did the identical final yr.

Below Freeman’s invoice, the sale of hashish would have been topic to state and native gross sales and use tax, “in addition to a further 15% marijuana tax.”

It additionally would have established that “native governments can impose an area gross sales tax on such gross sales, to not exceed 5% of the worth of the merchandise bought, of which proceeds shall be distributed similar to the present native gross sales and use tax.”

“It highlights the truth that we’re persevering with to show our again to the potential income for taxing this legally — individuals are already utilizing it or else they wouldn’t be getting picked up and we’re criminalizing this placing individuals in jail for what’s authorized in different states,” Freeman mentioned, as quoted by the station.

Freeman believes that the majority Tennessee voters are with him on the problem, a idea that may very well be examined in November’s normal election.

In January, a pair of state lawmakers launched a invoice that may direct county election officers to conduct a public opinion ballot on hashish coverage on this yr’s poll.

The laws would place three non-binding questions on the final election poll: Ought to the state of Tennessee legalize medical hashish?; Ought to the state decriminalize the possession of lower than one ounce of hashish?; and Ought to the state legalize and regulate the business gross sales of leisure hashish?

“We’ve been wrestling round with this for years and years now,” one of many invoice’s sponsors, state Home Rep. Bruce Griffey, mentioned on the time. “A bunch of jurisdictions have taken a step to legalize it. There’s actually some legitimate arguments, is marijuana any worse than alcohol in sure conditions?”