Several cannabis legalization projects have been presented to the Tennessee State Legislature, both medical and adult.
These new bills come as neighboring Mississippi recently became the 37th US state and the 3rd state in the Deep South to legalize medical cannabis.
Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jason Powell introduced a bill to create a medical cannabis program. Tennessee is indeed one of 13 states that has not yet authorized medical cannabis. A recent poll, however, found that 81% of Tennessee voters supported allowing patients and physicians to decide on the use of medical cannabis.
Another Democratic representative, Bob Freeman, introduced a bill that would completely legalize cannabis. Tennessee is also one of 19 states that still punishes simple possession of cannabis with a prison sentence: possession of half an ounce (14g) or less is punishable by almost a year in prison.
Convince the most conservative states
According to Pew Research Center, nine out of ten Americans support the legalization of cannabis, at least for medical purposes, and more than 60% believe that recreational cannabis should be allowed. Only eight percent of Americans are against any form of cannabis legalization.
Even in Tennessee, which has traditionally been one of the most politically conservative states in the country, more than half of the adult population thinks cannabis should be legal in some form. More than half a dozen polls conducted between 2018 and 2021 by top state media outlets show the plant’s growing popularity, primarily for medicinal use.
Proposals to legalize cannabis in Tennessee have been defeated by Republican lawmakers for the past two years. But 2022 could be the year that will bring to the referendum a question on medical cannabis, on decriminalization or on the legalization of cannabis for adults.