Friday, April 14, 2017

Bill Haslam signs repeal of new Nashville, Memphis marijuana laws

by Joey Garrison , USA Today Network - Tennessee - Nashville and Memphis received great fanfare last fall from criminal justice advocates for passing local ordinances that gave police the power to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

But now it's over after just seven months.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Wednesday signed into law Republican-backed legislation to repeal separate Nashville and Memphis laws that had allowed partial marijuana decriminalization in those communities, officially putting an end to the short-lived policies.

... Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery issued a legal opinion in November ....“A municipal ordinance that attempts to regulate a field that is regulated by state statute cannot stand if it is contradictory to state law,” Slatery wrote in his opinion.

Metro Director of Law Jon Cooper said in November that he disagreed with Slatery, arguing the ordinance was not preempted by state law. Supporters of the ordinance have argued it works within the confines of state law, likening the measure to Metro’s laws for litter and seat belts, both of which have penalties that are not as severe as those outlined in state law. (link)

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