Tennessee should adopt legislation that legalizes growth, sale, and use of recreational marijuana for all citizens of the age of majority, create bylaws that directs this tax revenue back into the state’s infrastructure, school system, and potential growing subsidies in order to compete with other states on recreational marijuana. While arguments may be made to Marijuana’s sole use as a medicine, we must remember that harm to one’s self is not brought on by recreational use. It is of the same calibre as over-the-counter cold medicine, not a Schedule 1 drug. Arguments for marijuana being medicinal aim to keep this Schedule 1 status for the drug, so that pharmaceutical companies may doctor and extract certain parts of marijuana for medicinal use, ignoring the fact that all it takes to get all the ingredients into one’s body, is to smoke it as any recreational user will do. (Me)
Eubanks, Lisa, Claude Rogers, Albert E. IV, George Koob, Arthur Olson, Tobin Dickerson, and Kim Janda. “A Molecular Link between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology.” – Molecular Pharmaceutics (ACS Publications). American Chemical Society, 9 Aug. 2006. Web. 03 Oct. 2014.
Recreational legalization has already been shown by Forbes.com to be a massive boost in tax revenue for states that have taken the first steps. After Legalization, Tennessee can expect figures similar to the state of Washington where marijuana sales will generate $700,000,000 in tax revenue by 2019, or Colorado where tax revenue from marijuana exceeded and nearly doubled the $42,000,000 collected from alcohol taxes in the last fiscal year with an astonishing $70,000,000 in tax revenue. Colorado witnessed a $2,000,000 boost in tax revenue from a 10% flat tax on all marijuana products added to the original sales tax of 2.9% in just the first month of 2014 from marijuana sale. Regardless of special taxes in areas of Colorado, sales stayed consistent and healthy, with a total of $14,200,000 worth of marijuana sold. The legalization also came with a bylaw that dedicated the first $40,000,000, which was met in the first fiscal year, of tax revenue directly to school construction. (Forbes)
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In Tennessee, marijuana prohibition has created a racial disparity of arrests in an otherwise fairly equal society of marijuana users. Marijuana users of African descent are 4 times more likely to be arrested than their Caucasian counterparts, even though Caucasians are 5% more likely to partake in recreational marijuana, according to a study done by the American Civil Liberties Union. (ACLU)
Alcohol, a legal drug, caused 88,000 deaths from 2006-2010, according to the CDC. Marijuana has never been reported to cause death in the history of mankind. One would sooner die of smoke inhalation than of an overdose of THC. Recreational legalization poses no threat to public health or society even when driving. Studies show that motor skills can not be impaired by marijuana more than the legal limit of 0.05% Blood Alcohol Concentration. Driving while under the influence of THC, while not recommended, is still safer than alcohol, according to a 2001 study. (NORML)
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Marijuana was not made illegal over public health concerns, but out of racism which still exists in TN to this day.
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The state would generate revenue through licensing by three state departments: Agriculture, Safety and Health. Each department would develop its own rules and pricing for licensing.
The legislature has discussed similar measures in the past, but none have gained much traction.
“What this bill is not is opening the door to recreational use; this is not a bill that will allow people to get high on the streets,” Dickerson said. “This is, however, a bill that would bring a necessary medicine to some of the sickest and most critically ill Tennesseans.”
The bill would allow for 50 grow operations statewide, the first 15 of which would be in “distressed” areas of the state.
Dickerson, a doctor, said the bill addresses concerns put forward during the 2016 legislative session that he said were focused on treating marijuana “like a medicine.”
The legislation would allow the use of medical marijuana for Tennesseans with a specific list of medical conditions, including cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures and Alzheimer’s. The Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission would be able to add conditions based on doctors’ findings.
Each grow house will be required to have security in place, including locks, cameras and security officers. Each grow operation would be allowed to have one dispensary at the grow house and two storefronts, which equates to 150 dispensaries across the state.
The Department of Safety would oversee transport and security, and the Department of Health would oversee items available in dispensaries.
Four of the seven top-tier gubernatorial candidates won’t say whether they’ve smoked marijuana recreationally, according to a USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee survey. (Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto )
They insist it is not pushing the state closer to allowing recreational pot use.