Should Tennessee legalize marijuana? Lawmakers shoot down proposal to hear from voters.
Forty-one states have legalized medical cannabis to some extent. Tennessee isn’t one of them. Lawmakers both Democratic and Republican have attempted to create a system for medical marijuana, but all have failed. Some are so against it they won’t even pose the question to their constituents.
Memphis Democrat Jesse Chism is the sponsor of a bill that would put three questions on the 2024 ballot in November.
- Should the State of Tennessee legalize medical marijuana?
- Should the State of Tennessee decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana?
- Should the State of Tennessee legalize and regulate commercial sales of recreational use marijuana?
It would be unusual for the state to approve a non-binding referendum, and the chair of the committee quickly shot the idea down. Kingsport Republican John Crawford used ballot fatigue as an excuse.
“Our ballots are getting so long now; a lot of people aren’t even completing the ballot,” Crawford said. “They vote for a few spots, and then, they don’t even go any further.”
The bill failed, and its quick death tells a story of how far Tennessee is from becoming a cannabis-friendly state. Other bills to allow for medical and recreational marijuana have also not advanced this session.
State analysts have estimated that legalizing medical cannabis could bring in more than $30 million dollars a year by 2025.