Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam made it publicly known that he does not support the proposed bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the Metro area. This announcement comes as no surprise since earlier this year the proposal was struck down at the state level.
Support for Nashville’s Lenient Marijuana Bill
The newly proposed bill would lower the charge of simple possession of marijuana charges from a misdemeanor with heavy fines and jail time down to just a violation with a low fine and community service, within Nashville.
Metro Council opened up the first round of voting early last week for the proposal, and it is believed that this bill has a good chance of passing. The Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislatures expressed their full support of the bill. Additionally, it is believed by the mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, and many of her followers that treating possession of small amounts of marijuana as a larger criminal offense unnecessarily introduces many youths into the criminal justice system.
Opposition and Critique of the New Proposal
Although support is being expressed for the bill to pass there are other groups that do not support the bill as it is being introduced. Previously, the Nashville Police Department made it known that they do not support the bill in its current form. The bill allows for police only to make citations and does not allow for the use of any discretion. Police point out that 9.6% of arrests involving simple possession of marijuana additionally involved a separate felony charge.
Due to opposition, the bill has since been modified allowing officers to use their discretion, in regards to possession of small amounts of cannabis. The Police Department has since changed their status regarding the bill to a neutral one.
The heat is up between the opposing councils and in time we will know whether or not Nashville will join the list of U.S. cities and states to have decriminalized marijuana.
If you have been arrested for a marijuana possession, do not hesitate to contact a Nashville drug crime lawyer to advocate for you. Contact The Collins Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation.