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Should Tennessee legalize marijuana?

Johnson City Press • Mar 9, 2020 at 6:00 AM

Over the last few years, Tennessee lawmakers have struggled with the prospect of legalized cannabis.

Forty bills have been filed in that time, but only four have passed, including two legalizing cannabidiol (CBD) products according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines and definitions.

While a majority of representatives seem opposed to decriminalizing marijuana, some public opinion polls show state residents are of different minds.

Two years ago, a Middle Tennessee State University poll showed 81% of those surveyed in favor of legalizing it to some degree. 44% said it should be allowed for medicinal purposes only, and 37% said it should be open for recreational use. 16% were against legalizing it in any form.

In part because of opposition from state law enforcement officials and other special interest groups, legislators have declined to support proposed decriminalization.

Those who do support relaxing state laws say cannabis has multiple medicinal properties, and recreationally has no worse effects than tobacco and alcohol, both of which are legal.

Those against, however, worry the euphoric effects of the drug will lead to addiction and higher usage rates of other illicit drugs — the gateway drug argument. It could also result in more impaired drivers on the road.

Already this year, several decriminalization bills have been filed in Nashville, both for medicinal and recreational uses.

We thought we’d put the question to you, our readers.

Should Tennessee decriminalize marijuana use? Would you support only medicinal or recreational use? If you’re against it in all forms, what has led you to that conclusion?

Send your correspondence to [email protected]. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.

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