Friday, February 5, 2016

Bill easing pot penalties advances

by Joel Ebert, The Tennesseean - A Republican-sponsored bill that would make three or more convictions for simple possession or casual exchange of marijuana a misdemeanor rather than a felony passed a key hurdle on Tuesday.

With a unanimous 9-0 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would make changes to the prosecution of those found guilty of possessing marijuana and other controlled substances three or more times.

The move is expected to decrease the state's incarceration costs by as much as $2 million, according to the bill's fiscal note.

The change  comes as part of a package deal. The heart of the bill was actually centered on enhancing the state's DUIs laws. (link)

My Comment: This sounds like a common sense move to me and a significant step in the right direction. I hope it passes. If it does, it is also a victory for justice. No one should go to prison for simply smoking a little pot.  Marijuana is an almost harmless drug. It makes much more sense to lessen the penalty for marijuana use and increase the penalty for drunk driving. I hope Tennessee will soon move toward the Colorado model of legalization and regulation or simply fully decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and allow cultivation for personal use.

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