Bill Proposes Voter Poll on Legalization, Decriminalization of Medical or Recreational Marijuana in Tennessee


Tennesseans may have the option to weigh in on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana: medical, recreational, or both. State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) introduced bill HB 1634 on Wednesday to include a voter opinion poll on the subject within the November 2022 ballot.

The poll would ask voters if Tennessee should legalize medical marijuana, decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and legalize and regulate commercial sales of recreational marijuana.

In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Griffey explained that this is a non-binding piece of legislation. This bill would merely allow voters to have a say on the matter, he said.

“Look, if the citizens vote in favor of it, it’s going to be hard for the legislature to not look at it,” said Griffey. “There’s people that are on both sides of this issue in Tennessee – and honestly I feel like we’re up there as caretakers of the people. We’re not supposed to be dictators, we’re supposed to be responsive to what the people want us to do.”

Griffey explained further that some of his constituents have communicated that they need marijuana legalization for medical needs. This poll would allow everyone to consider the matter.

“I’d like for there to be a real, robust public debate [on this matter],” said Griffey. “This is something that the citizens ought to decide, and not just their elected representatives.”

To illustrate the importance of the people’s power on legislative matters, Griffey referenced voters’ 2006 decision to adopt the Tennessee Marriage Protection Amendment, a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that provisions like those were unconstitutional.

“We passed a constitutional amendment and you get five black robes in D.C. that said, ‘Nah, we’re going to tell them how to live their lives,’ and I find that kind of offensive,” remarked Griffey.

If passed by the legislature, the opinion poll would appear on the November 2022 election ballot.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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15 Thoughts to “Bill Proposes Voter Poll on Legalization, Decriminalization of Medical or Recreational Marijuana in Tennessee”

  1. NJPBA600

    I’m in the process of moving into my TN home, I’m still going back and forth from NJ moving things.
    They passed a law legalizing marijuana for personal use some time ago but still haven’t figured out how they’re going to sell it or regulate it and still don’t. When they do it’s already been priced, their pricing puts buying marijuana from govt. approved sellers at about ten times the price you can buy it on the street and it’s half the potency of a street buy. This isn’t very smart since people will still get more potent weed at a much lower cost from the street and the illegal dealers are ecstatic about this because they still win.

    If the people vote for it in TN, so be it for better or worse. If the government has no full plan on how to sell it and regulate it if passes, it will be in limbo for at least a year if not years, this is exactly what happened in NJ Don’t know about TN but each NJ town has the option of allowing it to be sold in their town, they can’t be forced by state government.
    If it passes don’t expect to go down the block to the weed store and buy it after it’s passed. It’s a long drawn out process to do this and personal use weed won’t be sold for quite some time.

    I’m retired law enforcement from NJ so I have a lot of inside knowledge from those in power about how difficult this will be to start. Don’t get your hopes up too soon if TN government is as backwards and slow as Socialist

  2. Jo Niner

    As someone who stays in constant pain maybe those who oppose should walk in the shoes of us who suffer night and day and would appreciate the chance to at least try this natural pain relief method. I have never tried it. I did try CBD but no help from it. Big drug companies make billions of dollars for their products and the effects of their pain medicine is no better than the effects of pot. The effects of pot wears off faster than most pain medicine and people will either drive or not with medicine or pot either. If I require medicine I have enough sense not to drive just as I would if given the chance to use pot. And I see nothing enjoyable about the use of either.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Jo Niner – Interesting conundrum in your post. You state that you have never used marijuana but then you declare: Big drug companies make billions of dollars for their products and the effects of their pain medicine is no better than the effects of pot.” How did you make that determination having never used the drug.

      1. Jo Niner

        Don’t remember saying I hadn’t used pain medicine. I haven’t used pot. I’ve had legal pain medicine. Enough of it to know it’s effects on the body and I have a healthy respect for it. You may not be aware of the real pain people with medical problems endure or the lack of pain relief it lacks. Any of it. Why do you think you should have the right to keep me from trying something God put on this earth for the benefit of mankind. Maybe you don’t believe that but I do as do many in the area.

  3. Jay

    So what’s next a poll to legalize prostitution?

    1. 83ragtop50

      Jay – Probably casinos are next then prostitution. It is all about vote buying and taxes.

    2. Noneya

      Jay, get off your high horse, how many Pharmaceuticals do you take ?

  4. Noneya

    The Holy Bible tells us that God gave us herbs for medicine. Marijuana has many medicinal uses, it is illegal because the government makes so much money putting people in jail for having a weed.
    Tennessee has one of the worst Meth/heroin problems in the nation, legalize the weed and put your recourses into fighting the real problem.
    Marijuana is no different from alcohol, except alcohol causes twice the incidents of domestic violence and other violent crimes. Regulate Marijuana like alcohol and focus on the destructive hard drugs. You can use the revenue from the sale of marijuana to combat these other highly addictive and destructive drugs.
    Marijuana is NOT ADDICTIVE and has helped so many elderly with pain and the young with seizures.
    You can go one state over and possess marijuana freely and in Tennessee you go to prison and your life and family is destroyed. Is that the America we want to live in ? I think not.
    There has already been a poll in which 72% of Tennessean’s want to legalize marijuana, just do it.

    1. 83ragtop50

      I do not recall God mentioning marijuana in his writings. I do recall Him talking about the damage caused by drunkenness. There are many herbs and plants that are harmful so quit trying to justify it in such a manner.

  5. LM

    Keeping marijuana illegal brings in alot of revenue for the government. Chasing people around for having/selling marijuana when there are so many bigger problems is only funneling more money to a bloated bureaucracy. I don’t use it. I don’t even advocate its use , but legalizing it would save alot of law enforcement time and ridiculous arrests which would be better spent on bigger problems.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Yo need to visit Colorado to see what legalization has done to that state. Lots of taxes, lots of black market weed and lots of bums sitting around smoking dope. It comes with a big price that tax revenue does not cover.

  6. Russ Crouch

    This is a waste of time, and a way for the elected NOT to do their jobs.

  7. nicky wicks

    its time to decriminalize it, legalize it, and enjoy the tax money we can earn off of it – like other states. we spend too much taxpayer money trying to enforce a stupid law against a plant.

    1. Ron

      Until people start killing innocent people due to be under the influence while behind the wheel of a car, motorcycle, etc. Then you create another who DUI issue…have to clean up the mess on the highways, console the innocent families affected, endure the lawsuits that will result, etc, etc. etc.

    2. 83ragtop50

      Wrong. Money is not a reason to encourage getting high.