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Tennessee: Legislation Seeks to Nullify Citywide Decriminalization Ordinances

Update: HB 173 was signed into law by the Governor on April 12.
Update: Members of the Senate passed HB 173 on March 28. It now goes to the Governor who has indicated that he will likely "defer to the will of the Legislature" and not veto the bill.

Update: Members of the House have passed HB 173 by a vote of 65 to 28 March 23. The measure now awaits action from the Senate.

Update: HB 173 has been passed out of subcommittee and now awaits action by the full House Criminal Justice Committee.

Legislation is before the Governor, HB 173, to nullify the enactment of citywide marijuana decriminalization ordinances and to prevent additional municipalities from enacting similar marijuana reform measures.

The intent of the bill is to override the passage of recent citywide measures in Nashville and Memphis — both of which passed local ordinances last year making minor marijuana possession offenses a non-arrestable citation. 

By contrast, state law classifies marijuana possession as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a criminal record.

Please urge Gov. Bill Haslam to veto this measure and to allow cities the flexibility to decide their own marijuana policies. 


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