Unlike neighboring states, Tennessee lacks both a medical cannabis program as well as a recreational one. This puts Tennessee in the minority group of 14 states that are yet to legalize any form of cannabis in the U.S.
In a move that can be considered ambitious, a Nashville lawmaker, Rep Bob Freeman, has proposed a bill that will see to it that adult-use marijuana is made legal in the state. The bill seeks to legalize personal consumption and possession of marijuana in Tennessee.
In the last three years, several bills to legalize cannabis for medical use have been introduced in the state capital. All these bills have failed in committees. Why is Freeman hopeful about his new bill?
“The thinking is, we've been round and round on this issue for the last three years that I've been in the legislature.” “We've talked about medical, we've talked about doing a commission to study it. The end goal is always going to be full legalization like we see in other states.”
Freeman has proposed to have the agricultural department included in the committee because he believes that farmers will support the bill. He is banking on a recent Gallup poll that showed that up to two-thirds of Americans are in support of marijuana legalization.
Because marijuana is classified under schedule 1 by the DEA, some Tennessee lawmakers feel that it should not be legalized. This category of substances has “no medical value” and at the same time has a “high potential for abuse.”
However, several studies have shown that marijuana has several therapeutic uses. To date, 36 states have legalized cannabis for medical use, while another 18 have legalized it for recreational use. Freeman believes that legalizing cannabis in Tennessee is necessary to boost the economy of the state.