When you think of cannabis reform, the State of Tennessee is probably not the first thing that pops into your head. Tennessee is not known for being at the forefront of cannabis reform, and is considered to be a very conservative state. If a person is caught cultivating cannabis in Tennessee, or distributing over 14 grams of cannabis, they could be looking at up to six years in prison and a hefty fine. Selling a cannabis pipe or other paraphernalia can result in a similar prison sentence.
If there is any state in the country that needs cannabis reform, it’s Tennessee. According to a recent poll conducted by Vanderbilt University, an overwhelming majority of participants want some form of cannabis reform in Tennessee. When asked ‘Which comes closer to your view about the use of marijuana by adults?’ 32% of participants stated ‘It should be legal for personal use.’ 44% stated ‘It should be legal only for medicinal use,’ and only 22% stated ‘It should not be legal.’ When 76% of participants state it’s time for cannabis reform, compared to 22% supporting prohibition, it’s time for the leaders in Tennessee to listen.
This poll is a great example of how support for cannabis reform is not limited to certain states or geographical areas. Support for cannabis reform is nationwide. If a majority of people in Tennessee want reform, then I think it’s safe to say that there are few, if any, states that want to maintain the failed public policy that is cannabis prohibition.
Tennessee, like all other states, needs more jobs, more tax revenue, and a boost to the local economy. Colorado is proof that legalizing the cannabis industry works. Tennessee and every other state needs to follow Colorado’s lead. It’s time for a new approach.