A recreational cannabis legalization bill has been introduced in Tennessee that would create a taxed-and-regulated market with a 12 percent tax for education and infrastructure, WREG reports. The bill, introduced by Democratic Sen. Raumesh Akbari, would cap purchases at a half-ounce.
Half of the tax would be used for education, while 30 percent would be earmarked for infrastructure and 20 percent for the state’s general fund. Rules and regulations for the industry would be devised and adopted by the Legislature.
Akbari said the bill would stop wasting tax dollars on “failed drug policies” and create educational and economic opportunities in Tennessee.
“Tennessee’s tough on crime possession laws have trapped too many of our citizens in cycles of poverty and they haven’t actually stopped anyone from obtaining marijuana. The enforcement of these laws in particular have cost our state billions, contributed to a black market that funds criminal organizations, and accelerated the growth of incarceration in Tennessee’s jails and prisons. Tennesseans deserve better.” – Akbari, in a statement, via WREG
The measure has yet to be assigned to a committee and companion legislation has not been introduced in the House.
Earlier this month, medical cannabis legalization legislation that stalled last year was reintroduced in the Senate. Another proposal in the state would decriminalize cannabis and allow counties to decide whether they want to allow recreational sales.
A poll last year found 47 percent of Tennesseans supported adult-use legalization, with just 12 percent support for full prohibition. Another poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University found 81 percent support both medical and recreational cannabis law reforms.
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