Tennessee lawmakers reintroduce marijuana referendum ballot bill

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Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee have once again filed a bill that would put marijuana legalization referendum questions on the 2024 ballot, although the results of any ballot vote would be nonbinding.

According to political news outlet The Tennessee Journal, the legislation would pose three questions to voters:

  • Should Tennessee legalize medical marijuana?
  • Should Tennessee decriminalize marijuana possession of less than an ounce of marijuana?
  • Should Tennessee legalize and regulate recreational marijuana?

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jesse Chism and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, would also require Tennessee’s secretary of state to forward any referendum results to the Legislature and to publish the results online.

“You know, there’s been a lot of conversation going on about cannabis and whether it should be legalized and whether or not it should be decriminalized,” Chism said, according to the Journal.

“I think we need to have something on the ballot so we can ask the people.”

The same legislation was filed last year but died in a House subcommittee, according to Nashville TV station WKRN.

A 2023 Republican push to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee also failed.

Tennessee is one of a minority of states without legal medical cannabis, although the state has regulated hemp-derived cannabinoid products and imposed taxes on the sale of such products.