Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari (D) has filed legislation that would legalize and tax marijuana for those 21 and older, making the state the 12th in the U.S. to do so.
Akbari says that if the measure is passed, it would take effect on July 1st and would be an economic boon for the state, and a victory for justice.
“This legislation makes criminal justice more fair, creates thousands of Tennessee jobs, and invests real money in our students and teachers,” says Akbari. “With marijuana now available closer and closer to our state, it’s time for Tennesseans to have a real discussion about repealing outdated penalties for low-level possession and investing in our economic future and public schools through legalization.”
The measure would create a system of licensed marijuana retail outlet, which would be allowed to sell the planet to anyone who’s at least 21 years old: Marijuana would be taxed at 12%.
“Tennessee’s tough-on-crime possession laws have trapped too many of our citizens in cycles of poverty, and they haven’t actually stopped anyone from obtaining marijuana,” says Akbari. “The enforcement of these laws in particular [has] cost our state billions, contributed to a black market that funds criminal organizations, and accelerated the growth of incarceration in Tennessee’s jails and prisons. Tennesseans deserve better.”
Earlier this month legislation to legalize medical marijuana was filed in the state’s legislature – introduced by State Senator Janice Bowling.
“There are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans that could benefit from medical cannabis,” said Bowling after the measure was introduced. “This is desperately needed in Tennessee, it is desperately needed by the patients, and doctors need an alternative from opioids.”