Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Should Tennessee legalize marijuana? Lawmakers shoot down proposal to hear from voters.

Wikimedia Commons
A Tennessee House Committee voted down a bill that would allow residents to tell the state how they feel about marijuana legalization.

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.

  1. Should the State of Tennessee legalize medical marijuana?
  2. Should the State of Tennessee decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana?
  3. 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.

Related Content