Nashville, Tenn (WTVF) – A Nashville legislator wants to legalize recreational cannabis.
Representative Bob Freeman’s bill would ratify the growth, sale and possession of marijuana in Tennessee.
The debate over medicinal cannabis has been going on for years in the state Capitol. Every time he fails in committees. However, Freeman said he believes that with neighboring states to legalize recreational cannabis, the legislature should also discuss it.
“The thinking is we’ve been pretty persistent on this issue for the past three years I’ve been in the legislature,” Freeman said. “We’ve talked about medicine, we’ve talked about setting up a committee to study it. The end goal will always be full legalization as we see it in other states.”
Freeman would like the bill to be heard at the Agriculture Committee because he believes farmers will support the bill. He also cited a Gallup poll that showed 68% support for full cannabis legalization nationwide.
However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance with a high potential for abuse—a fact for law enforcement and some lawmakers use as an argument that Tennessee should not legalize it.
Recreational cannabis is legal in more than a dozen states while others have also decriminalized its possession.
In Colorado, the state has earned more than $2 billion in tax revenue since it began collecting taxes on it in 2014. Freeman believes that Tennessee will also benefit from its legislation.
“I think it makes sense financially for our country,” he said. “All the states around us are either thinking, listening to bills this year, or they’ve already passed bills. We don’t need to be the last one standing.”