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TN legislators plan to propose bill that could legalize some marijuana use

Lawmakers will discuss marijuana during the legislative session. New legislation is coming to try and introduce cannabis access in the state.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — More than half the states in the U.S. have taken some sort of action toward decriminalizing marijuana. Tennessee is one of the states that can still put people in prison for having half an ounce or less of cannabis on them.

However, District Attorney General Charme Allen said people are rarely imprisoned solely for possession of marijuana.

Tennessee lawmakers will soon consider another bill to legalize marijuana. It's currently illegal in Tennessee to have marijuana or cannabis products with more than 0.3% percent THC content in it.

"This bill will support medical and recreational cannabis use because many other states already have recreational use," said Sen. Heidi Campbell (D - Nashville).

Campbell said she's working with Rep. Bob Freeman (D - Nashville) to bring back the bill for legalizing marijuana.

“If people can drive across the border to Indiana to get cannabis, then it doesn't make any sense that we in Tennessee would be missing out on that economic advantage,” Campbell said. 

State Senator Richard Briggs (R - Knoxville) disagreed and said he opposes both medical and recreational marijuana. He explained CBD is already legal on the federal level. 

"I don't think we need to be looking at it that way," Briggs said. "I don't think we should do away with the drinking age because we can make money off selling, selling liquor and beer to teenagers young too."

However, Campbell said that marijuana decriminalization or legalization could bring medical benefits to people in the state.

"We have a lot of people who suffer and medical cannabis really is one of the only things that they can rely upon to mitigate their pain," Campbell said. 

Briggs said there are several medical benefits associated with CBD, and said he believes there's more research to be done, especially since FDA has not approved widespread medical marijuana use yet. 

"I'm not in favor at all of recreational marijuana and I have a lot of concerns about medical marijuana until we know more about it," Briggs said. "I don't think that it should be generally available. And at least at this point until something changes."

On Inside Tennessee, WBIR's political show, House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) said medical marijuana could be on the table this year. However, he said he opposes recreational marijuana use.

"On the House, we're pretty close to passing medical marijuana," Sexton said. "As long as it's in the same forms is what medicine is when you see legislation. They have all the gummies, and the chocolates —that's not really medical, they're really trying to market towards recreational." 

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