GOP Lawmaker: Tennessee Considers MMJ Legalization As Dems Draft New Bill

Zinger Key Points
  • Democratic Reps. Bob Freeman and Heidi Campbell want to file new legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.
  • "I'm not in favor at all of recreational marijuana," State Sen. Richard Briggs says.

Cannabis with more than 0.3% percent THC is currently illegal in Tennessee.

However, at least one GOP lawmaker hopes that will change.

Republican Rep. Cameron Sexton says medical marijuana could be reviewed by the chamber's members this year.

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"On the House, we're pretty close to passing medical marijuana," Sexton, who opposes legalization of marijuana, said on WBIR's Inside Tennessee.

But, he emphasized that cannabis needs to be in the form of medicine.

"As long as it's in the same forms is what medicine is when you see legislation," Sexton continued. "They have all the gummies and the chocolates — that's not really medical, they're really trying to market towards recreational."

State Senator Richard Briggs is even more radical.

"I'm not in favor at all of the recreational marijuana and I have a lot of concerns about medical marijuana until we know more about it," Briggs said. "I don't think that it should be generally available. And at least at this point until something changes."

Dems Push For Change

While Briggs and Sextons are firmly against the legalization of adult-use marijuana, a bill from Rep. Bob Freeman and Sen. Heidi Campbell seeks to do exactly that. In December, the legislative duo said they would file new legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

"This bill will support medical and recreational cannabis use because many other states already have recreational use," Campbell said.

She further emphasized that Tennessee needs to stop missing out on tax revenue from cannabis sales, reported WBIR.

"If people can drive across the border to Indiana to get cannabis, then it doesn't make any sense that we in Tennessee would be missing out on that economic advantage," Campbell said.

What About Expungements

Meanwhile, possession of half an ounce or less of marijuana can still put you behind bars in the Volunteer State.

State Rep Bud Hulsey of Kingsport said recently that President Joe Biden's pardon for all federal marijuana possession convictions "won't change jail populations across Tennessee." Still, he admitted that a change is needed.

"One thing I've thought about that we probably [should] change is, you do have people that have personal use of marijuana, and they'll have three, four, five grams over a half ounce, but they don't sell. It's for them, but they can be charged with that same kind of felony as if they had nine and a half pounds," he said. 

Photo: Courtesy of Ramdlon, ganjaspliffstoreuk by Pixabay

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsEntrepreneurshipPoliticsMarketsGeneralBob FreemanCameron SextonHeidi CampbellLegalizationmarijuanaRichard BriggsTennessee cannabis
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