The latest in cannabis legalization including laws and policies, legislators’ views, election coverage, and more. SEE ALL

Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill to Block Local Decriminalization

Memphis, Tennessee, USA - September 9, 2011: A historic area of downtown Memphis, TN, Beale Street is lined with restaurants, clubs, and shops.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Legislature has passed a bill that would bar cities in Tennessee from decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

If the governor signs the bill, it will strike down laws in Memphis and Nashville that give police the discretion to write civil citations for people who have small amounts of cannabis.

Meet the Tennessee Republican Fighting for Medical Cannabis

The bill passed in the Senate Monday evening after impassioned debate on both sides of the issue.

Sen. Lee Harris, a Democrat from Memphis, pleaded with fellow lawmakers to vote against the bill, saying that more people will likely wind up behind bars if it becomes law.

Nashville Decriminalized Cannabis. But Should It Have?

Sen. Jack Johnson, a Republican from Franklin who sponsored the measure, said cities couldn’t simply decide which state laws they will enforce and which ones they won’t.