Weed, Corn, and Guns 

State tourism is on the rise. Mike Conley cuts the corn. ACLU backs pot decriminalization.

Packing Heat

Shelby County has the highest rate of handgun permits in the state, according to a new report by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

click to enlarge TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells

Tennessee Touri$m

Tennessee tourism shattered records in 2015 with visitors spending more than $18 billion, up 3.7 percent over 2014.

State officials announced the findings last week, noting that tourism jobs rose 2.9 percent last year to 157,400.

Memphis in May officials announced last week that the month-long festival had an $88 million economic impact. More than 265,000 attended the festival, which supported 1,138 jobs and brought in $2.8 million in local taxes.

Mending Marijuana

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee urged its members to support local efforts to decriminalize marijuana, calling it a matter of "racial justice."

Council member Berlin Boyd proposed lowering charges for possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana. That proposal was slated to receive its first full vote by the council on Tuesday.

"Make no mistake — this is an issue of racial justice," said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee. "As of 2010, in Shelby County, a black person was 4.2 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as a white person, though the two groups use marijuana at comparable rates."

'Not True'

Both plaintiffs in the now-dismissed lawsuit against the Memphis City Council regarding the Greensward said Wednesday that they did not tell council member Berlin Boyd that the Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) played any role in their filing of the suit as he claimed last week.

Residents Dr. Susan Lacy and Stephen Humbert filed a suit against the city earlier this year. Boyd said in a resolution before the council that "one of the plaintiffs" in the suit "has admitted to council members" that OPC provided the language and information for their lawsuit. Humbert said it was "a completely false statement."

Greenprint Approved

The Mid-South Regional Greenprint, the plan to link surrounding communities with trails, bike lanes, and green spaces, now has unanimous support from every community it will touch.

Last week, city leaders in Marion, Arkansas, approved the plan, giving it the green light for implementation. Greenprint leaders called adoption of the plan "an unprecedented demonstration of regional unity."

Corny Conley

As if becoming the best-paid player in the NBA wasn't enough, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has been cut in the corn.

Conley's visage is this year's featured artwork cut into the 10-acre Mid-South Maze, which opens on September 15th and runs through October 31st.

Ag Trail

The Agricenter Trail will soon be paved, giving cyclists and pedestrians a better path between the Shelby Farms Greenline to the Agricenter Farmers Market.

The trail runs along the south side of Walnut Grove and from Farm Road to the farmers market. It exists now, but it's an unpaved dirt path.

Paving comes thanks to Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer, who donated her full $100,000 allotment of the Shelby County Commission Enhancement Grant.

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