Tennessee Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Repeal Decriminalization Ordinances

Tennessee Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Repeal Decriminalization Ordinances

Flickr / Phillip Dodds / CC BY 2.0

A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee has introduced a measure that would repeal local marijuana ordinances that conflict with state law.

Introduced by House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman William Lamberth, the bill was filed in an effort to repeal marijuana decriminalization ordinances passed by the cities of Nashville and Memphis last year.

Supporters of the decriminalization ordinances criticized the bill, stating that the measures are no different from littering and seat belt laws.

Speaking with The Tennessean, Lamberth defended the bill by saying that it simply codifies a November 2016 legal opinion issued by state Attorney General Herbert Slatery that called the measures “un-enforceable.”

“We’ve never had cities that have just blatantly disregarded state criminal laws and just started making up their own criminal laws on their own,” Lamberth said. “If that were to continue, you would have a hodgepodge of criminal laws throughout our state that no attorney, judge or individual would ever be able to understand … .”

In response to the proposed measure, Nashville natives Rep. Harold Love and Sen. Jeff Yarbro introduced a bill that would reduce marijuana possession from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $50 fine.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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