August 13, 2021 03:00 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Did a Tennessee poll seriously just ask residents to give their honest opinion about cannabis to lawmakers? Yes, one did, but we’ll get to that more here in just a minute. Coming from a state that sets up random checkpoints statewide, I don’t think people are going to be eager to provide this kind of information and not expect law enforcement to show up at their door with a search warrant.
Cannabis prohibition was built upon a foundation of racism and falsehoods. In no way, shape or form should cannabis still be illegal in the state of Tennessee or any other state in America. Politicians that support the continued prohibition of this plant must still support the old ways of the past. With the majority of Americans supporting cannabis legalization, it is time for lawmakers to stop supporting their own private agendas or get out of office.
Tennessee lawmakers seem to hate cannabis, and this could not be more evident. Their tough anti-cannabis stance comes for a reason. They must still stand with and support the racist thoughts of early prohibitionists like the heinous Harry J. Anslinger. At least, that is how it looks to me when you continue to support an outdated law from 1937. Tennessee ranks near the top of substance abuse rates in the United States and has numerous addiction facilities located throughout the state.
Simple economics shows that cannabis legalization would cause profit loss for this sector of business. In states that have legalized cannabis, addiction and overdose rates on opioids have been reduced. People find help and healing in all-natural cannabis. Unfortunately, cannabis legalization has nothing to do with the health of the nation or the treatment of its people in many politician’s eyes.
Cannabis Stands to Bring Major Profits
One of the benefits of cannabis legalization is that there are major profits. Keeping cannabis illegal in the state of Tennessee or anywhere else really only benefits those who look to control others. People of Color have been a target of marijuana prohibition since it began and Tennessee is no stranger to this as well. The state supports alcohol very heavily, though. I know because I used to live there. I was disgusted when the little town I lived in, Rockwood, Tennessee, hosted a 5k moonshine run, but the leaders of the state couldn’t get behind an all-natural plant. Why should children be exposed to moonshine and alcohol but not be allowed to be educated on cannabis? Perhaps it’s because the state would rather profit off incarceration instead.
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Tennessee has a problem with crime. The violent crime rate in the state of Tennessee sits at 62% higher than the rest of the nation. With such high support for legalization across the nation, you would think Tennessee would join the rest of the states that support it. Legalization ultimately provides revenue and resources that support efforts to solving and preventing violent crime. The state has made many mistakes when it comes to how they handle cannabis, but that is an entirely different story!
What Questions Were on This Tennessee Poll
Now back to the topic of politicians surveying the residents of TN in regard to their opinion on cannabis legalization. According to the most recent legislation filings, Representative Bruce Giffey is proposing that election commissions add three non-binding questions to the November 2022 ballot. These yes or no questions are as follows;
Should the state of Tennessee legalize medical marijuana?
Should the state of Tennessee decriminalize possession of less than 1 oz of marijuana?
Should the state of Tennessee legalize and regulate commercial sales of recreational-use marijuana?
Mr. Griffey himself is against cannabis legalization and believes that his constituents are divided on the subject. However, he offers the facade that people should decide whether or not reform progresses in the state and not the politicians themselves. Unfortunately, in the state of Tennessee, legalization can only pass by way of legislators and not the vote of the people.
The Survey Has Been Done Several Times Already
The people have said they support cannabis in Tennessee on many occasions. Countless news polls have shown strong support for cannabis legalization. There are also many little polls that have been conducted in smaller communities like the one I grew up in that show majority support for medical cannabis legalization. There is no need to spend countless taxpayer dollars in order to survey the people on something that has already been done on numerous occasions. Here are a few examples for reference.
Times Free Press – “Power Poll: About 88% of people surveyed support legalizing marijuana in some form across Tennessee.”
Tennessean – “81% of Tennessee voters polled supported legalization to some extent, 37 percent said marijuana should be legal for personal use, while 44 percent said marijuana should only be legal for medicinal purposes.”
Nashville Scene – Vanderbilt Polls shows that of those surveyed, “44% approved of legalizing medical marijuana, and another 32 percent support legalization for recreational use.”
Memphis Daily News – “52% of Republicans surveyed recently by Tennesseans for Conservative Action say they support allowing people to manage their pain with medical cannabis, in contrast to 31 percent in opposition.”
Tennessee Power Poll – “In Memphis and Nashville, clear majorities favor making it completely legal for both medicinal and recreational use (57% and 58% respectively). In Chattanooga and Knoxville, 40% and 36% respectively favor legalization among adults for recreational or medicinal purposes.”
WBIR – “A 2018 poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University found 81% of voters would support legalizing marijuana to some degree.”
WKRN – “77% of 2018 voters nationwide have a favorable opinion of legalizing medical marijuana, an opinion proponent we spoke to said candidates shouldn’t ignore. “Nothing is surprising about this poll,” said State Rep. Jeremy Faison. “From Vanderbilt to our own polling, around 75-80% of Tennessee agrees with what we’re doing,”
So please, tell me again why another survey is needed to convince legislators that reform is the right choice? Obviously, Tennessee lawmakers are just doing what they do best, and that is dancing around the subject of cannabis legalization. Good luck, TN. My home state should have volunteered to lead the way in positive cannabis reform in the south; instead, they are one of the last in the country to even be discussing change.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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