Written by Alyssa Schnoug
The Tennessee Valley Authority sent a letter Friday to Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Pressley with an official response to their position regarding powering electric companies that would power medical marijuana facilities.
The discrepancy between TVA and Presley began in early February after Governor Tate Reeves signed the state’s medical marijuana program into law and TVA issued a statement on February 7 that because it is a federally owned utility company, it cannot provide authority for a licensed medical marijuana facility due to a potential conflict with Federal law.
On February 10 on his social media, Presley Monument TVA supplies power to local utility companies, such as Oxford Utilities and the North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, and you shouldn’t have to worry about businesses getting power from these local suppliers.
Presley also said the TVA statement has already caused damage to northern Mississippi by forcing some medical marijuana facilities to look into other areas of the state and possibly denying northern Mississippi the benefits of a newly enacted medical marijuana program.
On February 10, TVA released another statement that “there will be no outage,” due to the new program and TVA was seeking guidance from federal agencies for further clarification.
The letter sent to Presley on Friday reiterated her previous statement.
This complex issue involves a conflict between federal law and legislation recently enacted in Mississippi. In particular, TVA wants to make clear that it will continue to serve local power companies in Mississippi without interruption in service due to this legislation,” states the letter to Presley.
TVA stated that it “respects the role of the state government and the democratic will of its constituents,” however, as the federal TVA is “required to adhere to federal law and regulations.”
“Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Even if marijuana is legalized under state law, the TVA must ensure that its sale to the Federal authority under wholesale energy contracts does not intentionally facilitate the commission of a federal crime, including under the Substances Act. censored,” the letter states.
TVA continues to consult with the US Department of Justice and other federal officials, to help TVA understand its obligations as a federal agency where state and federal law on marijuana conflict.
“We also welcome clarification from Congress on this matter,” TVA stated. “TVA will keep local energy companies and other stakeholders informed while we receive additional guidance.”
The letter briefly addressed Presley’s comments regarding economic development and the lack of opportunities for northern Mississippi to benefit from the new program.
“We are aware of the economic development opportunities that the new law provides in northern Mississippi. As we receive additional guidance from the appropriate federal agencies, we will share more ideas and information,” the letter states.