Last year, forward-thinking legislators in Nashville and Memphis voted to decriminalize cannabis and awarded the cities' police departments the discretion to forego arrests for small quantities of marijuana and instead hand out civil citations. Even though Nashville cops have only issued 39 of these lighter citations since the law was passed, some Tennessee state legislators are fighting to overrule the cannabis-friendly city ordinances.
According to the Tennessean, this week the state House of Representatives approved a bill that would automatically repeal any local marijuana law that is inconsistent with state drug and narcotics statutes. Much of the debate centered on whether or not the state should be overruling local governments on the issue. “The individuals that were elected by those cities, by those communities, by those voters know what’s best at the local level," Rep. Antonio Parkinson, who opposed the new bill, said.
Other Tennessee Democrats argued that the issue should be resolved by the state's courts, not the legislative body.
“The majority in the Tennessee House abandoned the principles of limited government and local control and ignored the will of the people of Nashville, instead yielding to the archaic Nixon-era hysteria of a small group of legislators who live outside of Nashville,” said Metro councilman Dave Rosenburg, who sponsored the city's contested marijuana ordinance.
“We have informed lawmakers that we are opposed to this piece of legislation and we are disappointed that the House voted to approve it today," Nashville Mayor Megan Barry's press secretary, Sean Braisted, said. "We will continue to monitor its progress in the state Senate."