Tuesday, February 19, 2019

City Council Considers Backing Legislation on Cannabis

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 at 3:59 PM

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The Memphis City Council will consider a resolution expressing its support for cannabis-related bills introduced in the ongoing Tennessee General Assembly legislative session.

Councilman Martavious Jones, who is sponsoring the resolution, said the bills deal with decriminalization for certain amounts, taxation of cannabis, and medical marijuana.

“The only way the council speaks is through resolution,” Jones said. “We can have our individual opinions as council members, but it doesn’t mean anything unless there’s an affirmative vote taken by this body.”

Here are the bills Jones is asking the council to support:

Introduced by Democrat Sara Kyle of Memphis, SB 0256 would decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Tennessee. The accompanying House bill is HB 0235, introduced by Democrat Gloria Johnson of Knoxville.

The second pair of bills relates to the taxation of marijuana. In the Senate, Kyle introduced SB 0257, which would change the definition of marijuana for purposes of taxation on unauthorized substances to match the definition of marijuana as it applies to criminal offenses. The bill is coupled by HB 1197, sponsored by Larry Miller, a Democrat from Memphis.

The last set of bills would allow medical marijuana cardholders with cards issued in other states to possess and distribute less than one-half ounce of marijuana to other cardholders in Tennessee. The bills, SB 0260 and HB 0234, are sponsored by Kyle and Johnson, respectively.

Jones told his council colleagues that, looking at the national landscape, the stigma associated with cannabis is “being lifted.”

“When you look at the mass incarceration taking place disproportionately in the communities we represent, this is a step toward addressing those issues,” Jones said.

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