(The Center Square) – A medical cannabis constitutional amendment and a recreational/medical cannabis bill have been proposed in Tennessee this legislative session.
“Tennesseans should have access to a comprehensive medical cannabis program in our state,” Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, said. “No Tennessean suffering from an approved medical condition should have to drive hours out of state to purchase medical cannabis. Furthermore, Tennesseans should be able to legally grow and sell medical cannabis here in Tennessee.”
The amendment, House Joint Resolution 742, includes a 4% retail sales tax. A portion of that tax would go to medical care for veterans.
Powell said he supported either a bill or amendment to legalize medical cannabis, but he believed an amendment had a better chance of succeeding.
“I firmly believe an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution is the best path for legalizing medical cannabis in Tennessee,” Powell said. “Voters should have the opportunity to decide this issue and I simply ask my legislative colleagues to give Tennesseans the choice to vote on a medical cannabis program.”
The constitutional amendment would require majority approval in the Tennessee House and Senate and then two-thirds approval of both chambers in another session before being added to a ballot for majority approval of the state’s voters in a gubernatorial election.
It could not be added in time for this fall’s election. The earliest it could be on the ballot is 2026.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed legislation Wednesday to legalize medical cannabis. Other nearby states, such as Kentucky and South Carolina, are debating medical cannabis. Georgia is working on its process to regulate medical marijuana after it passed the Hope Act in 2019. Alabama passed the Compassion Act last year, along with a 9% gross proceeds tax.
House Bill 1968 from Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, calls for Tennessee to become the 39th state with a marijuana regulatory structure by legalizing marijuana with the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act” or “FACT Act.”
The bill is assigned to the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. The law would allow an individual to have and transport up to 60 grams of marijuana and up to 12 plants for personal use.
It also would create laws for marijuana dispensaries while an individual would need to be 21 years old to purchase marijuana.