Relaxed Marijuana Penalties Repealed By Tennessee Gov.


Sorry, Nashville and Memphis.

On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee signed legislation that rescinds recently passed ordinances reducing the penalties for simple marijuana possession in Nashville and Memphis.

Rolling back the votes of the Nashville Metro Council and ignoring the unanimous decision by the Memphis City Council to decriminalize marijuana in their municipalities, Gov. Haslam signed the regressive H.B. 173. A ‘Partisan Bill’ sponsored by eight Republican senators, House Bill 173 only received one “Yea” vote from a Democrat – coming from Reginald Tate (D- Memphis).

More than a little upset that local policymakers in Nashville and Memphis snubbed Tennessee’s punitive marijuana penalties last year, the House first passed H.B. 173 on March 23, with a vote of 65-28. And four days later, the Senate easily passed the bill by a vote of 26-5.

No friend of democracy or progressive policy, HB 173 summarizes who can do what in the state of Tennessee:

“No county, city, town, municipality, or metropolitan form of government has the authority by ordinance, resolution, regulation, or other local law to enact or adopt a sanction for conduct involving a drug or other substance if the sanction for that contact is established.”

While the majority of Tennessee lawmakers bowed before the profitable altar of prohibition, at least one Senator in this ugly saga stood up for common sense, according to US News & World Reports. Sen. Lee Harris, a Democrat from Memphis, admonished his fellow senators for their lack of foresight. “Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate, if we prevent cities from taking action in this area, we can rest assured that there will be more Tennesseans that are in prison on terms that are out of proportion with their crime.”

The end result of this legislative fiasco … police in Nashville and Memphis could soon find themselves wasting their limited time on minor marijuana infractions. Handing out costly citations for minor offenses to hard-working citizens, for simply carrying small amounts of marijuana will again be the norm.

One step forward — two steps back.

Contact your Tennessee representative today and tell them how you feel

Contact your Tennessee representative today and tell them how you feel

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

About Author

Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog – though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink alcohol or consume any other "drugs." I consider myself to be living proof that weed is not a gateway drug. If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math) ... I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be for calming what stirs the savage beast.


  1. A new policy goes into effect today for people caught with misdemeanor amounts of marijuana in Harris County Texas.

    Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced the new marijuana policy earlier this month. She says it will save the county millions of dollars and free up resources to focus on prosecuting violent crimes.

    The new Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program, which takes effect on March 1, 2017, will divert all misdemeanor marijuana cases — involving up to four ounces — out of the criminal justice system, instead redirecting low-level drug offenders into a decision-making class.
    Harris County marijuana prosecution by the numbers
    Harris County spends approximately $26 million each year prosecuting 10,000 misdemeanor marijuana cases
    Crime labs spend $1.7 million testing evidence for those 10,000 cases
    On average, it takes four hours of a law enforcement officer’s time to arrest, transport and book a misdemeanor offender
    Harris County spends $13 million housing marijuana offenders, who each spend an average of 6 days in jail
    Low-level marijuana cases account for 10 percent of cases on Harris County court dockets.
    This is how it is done and the state can’t do anything about it.

  2. Just did a interview with a Magazine that talks about my story and etc. I can not wait for the Gov to hear what i have to say. If you all want to contact me if you are interested in doing a story on me or something. Here is my Facebook page.

    Him and other elected officials in the State half will not win re-election

  3. I am a recovering alcoholic with 38 yrs. Of Sobriety. I have also smoked marijuana for years it is good for so many things I do it for pain and relaxation. Sick tummy,cancer a all natural plant grows in God’s world to help in what ever way it is needed alcohol to me is one of the worst drugs there is but yet you can buy it on ever Conner, just put so many people together one for drank and one for marijuana see the difference in there actions, oh no hangover and most and the best no Overdoses.

  4. Damn republicans. Haslem smokes too. Lived here all my life and I’m moving. #HaslemHasSmallDick #DrugTestHaslem #RepublicansAreNazis

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