Marijuana advocates in Tennessee hope full legalization in other states will create a new opening here. But so far, they’ve failed to get anyone in power on board.
Efforts to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes have been ongoing for several years. And this year’s bill sponsored by Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) in the state legislature is practically identical, though it does add post traumatic stress disorder to a list of ailments for which patients could be prescribed pot.
On Monday, a series of informational events will be held at the state capitol and Vanderbilt University. The trouble is, no lawmakers from the GOP supermajority have raised their hands as supporters – none.
“Even if it won’t pass this year, it deserves a serious and respectful discussion,” says legalization advocate Bernie Ellis. “The first Republican who says that – I think – will be joined by half a dozen others, immediately.”
In the U.S., 21 states now allow medical marijuana. None is in the South.
While marijuana legalization efforts have been led by Democrats, just last week Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas came out in support of at least decriminalizing pot.