Tennessee Lawmaker Introduces Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill
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Tennessee Lawmaker Introduces Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill

Sen. Raumesh Akbari has filed legislation that would allow retail sales and levy a 12% tax to support education and infrastructure.

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January 27, 2020

Tennessee Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) introduced legislation Jan. 24 that would legalize adult-use cannabis in the state, according to a local News Channel 3 report.

S.B. 1849 would allow retail sales and levy a 12% tax to support education and infrastructure, and would allow customers age 21 and older to purchase up to a half ounce of cannabis. State regulators would be charged with creating rules for commercial sales.

“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,” Akbari said in a public statement. “The enforcement of these laws in particular have 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.”

The bill is not yet scheduled for a hearing, and no companion legislation has been filed in the House, according to News Channel 3.

Earlier this month, Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) reintroduced a bill to legalize medical cannabis in the state after last year’s attempt stalled in the legislature.