Home / Perspectives / Marijuana in Tenn. now more than a pipe dream

Marijuana in Tenn. now more than a pipe dream

» Philip Sparn

–psparn@my.apsu.edu

It is about time that Tennessee and other states choose to legalize the medical or recreational use of marijuana.

As a result of recent 2012 ballot measures, medical marijuana is now legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

Two states now allow the recreational use of marijuana, according to The New York Times. These state ballot measures demonstrate the public’s desire to end the federal prohibition of marijuana.

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There are numerous reasons why Tennessee, in particular, should legalize marijuana. It is no secret that the south, especially Tennessee, has a large number of small-government conservatives that would prefer the government to stay out of their own and everyone else’s business.

It is also no secret that Tennessee has a strong tradition of agriculture and living off the land. Just these two factors alone should be reason enough to consider legalizing the farming and use of marijuana.

However, the main reason we should consider ending the prohibition of marijuana is the economic boost and relief that legalizing this cash crop can provide our state.

Allowing marijuana to be grown, sold, regulated and taxed, as tobacco and alcohol currently are, would help provide state and local governments much needed tax revenue and a strong economic industry for farmers and distributors.

In October 2012 alone, Tennessee collected around $22.8 million in tax revenue from the licensing distribution of tobacco according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Comparative Statement of Collected Revenues.

Tennessee also collected around $10.7 million in tax revenues from the licensing and distribution of alcohol, beer and mixed drinks in October 2012, according to the Tennessee Department of Revenue. In just the last four months alone Tennessee has collected around $139 million in tax revenue from the distribution of tobacco and alcohol.

Too often, we all hear about drug busts worth thousands or millions of dollars, where officials confiscate marijuana, supplies and money worth thousands or millions of dollars. It would be beneficial to our economy and agriculture industry to allow this revenue to be legally earned by farmers, small businesses and distributors in the legal market.

Tennessee could greatly increase tax revenue collected each year by taxing the distribution of marijuana like tobacco and alcohol. By increasing tax revenue, Tennessee could possibly help fill budget shortfalls and possibly prevent increasing tuition rates at state institutions, without having to raise taxes on it’s residents.

Not only can marijuana be a beneficial herb, but a strand of the plant, known as hemp, can serve as a very versatile and cost-efficient fiber that can be used in textiles, paper, rope, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics and many other products.

Up until the prohibition of marijuana, hemp was a cash crop and major industry in the United States. Even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had large hemp farms, according to NORML, a marijuana advocacy group.

I am pretty sure that the legalization of marijuana will not lead to the downward spiral of our society, increased violence and rampant drug use, like some social conservatives would prefer everyone to believe to prevent legalization.

If doctors can prescribe large amounts of addictive pain pills with similar ingredients to heroin and if states can tax, regulate and control other possibly dangerous “feel-good” drugs, like alcohol, tobacco and even caffeine and sugar, we should be able to do the same with marijuana without any major problems.

Not only could legalizing marijuana in Tennessee provide great economic benefits through increasing tax revenues, but legalizing marijuana would keep innocent non-violent marijuana offenders out of the courts, jails and prisons; saving them grief, financial strain and a criminal record.

Legalizing marijuana in Tennessee and other states needs to be more than just a pipe dream. In a state where independence, farming and living off the land is in our heritage, legalizing marijuana seems like a perfect fit for Tennessee’s residents and our economy. For more information on marijuana advocacy, laws and reform in Tennessee, visit NORML.org/tn.

About Philip Sparn, News Editor

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20 comments

  1. i hope they do

    • my daughter suffers from MS..she will not take a pain pill of any sort, but smokes in the privacy of her home every single day..for medicinal comfort,,people, pill are not always the answer to our physical and mental disabilities not to mention the billions of dollars that are sitting in evidence rooms all over our state, and country, for that matter ….God gave us this useful tool, it is a seed, not a manufactured product..with soil, light and water, the female buds give some people a reason and the strength to go on…PROHIBITION IS THE ANSWER to many problems that plague our country and fellow citizens…IN GOD WE TRUST…

    • hello, my name is Dylon and i beat my autism with the use of marijuana. i was diagnosed with ASD as a child and had all the classic symptoms such as speech delay, loss of eye contact, social impairment, learning disabilities, and worst of all i was lost in my own mind. my mother tried everything under the sun from therapy to medication (which only made matters worse) but at 15 my brother decided to sit me down and pass me a spliff, and honestly it was the first time in my life i ever had a clear thought. i was actually able to comprehend what was going on around me and i now have a thirst to learn, and not just what is in school books but EVERYTHING that has substance or can be imagined i now crave to learn. i love my life, i am different from the average individual and weed gave that to me. i am now a valuable member of society and have a bright future ahead of me and if i could thank someone for giving me this opportunity i would have done so a thousand times over. i wish i could share my success with other people like me but society frowns upon it like it once frowned upon me

  2. What a great source of revenue and resource for textiles! Hemp would be a nice fiber to wear on those hot Tennessee summers!

  3. Based on my experiences with those who use marijuana, I both hope and pray that marijuana is NEVER legalized in Tennessee. If, God please forbid, it ever is legalized in Tennessee, the laws should state that anybody driving a car may NOT have any of the marijuana chemicals which make one high in one’s system while driving a car or any other vehicle, (no driving high on pot), while working in any job requiring close attention, no smoking it around children or teenagers or on public school and public college/university campuses, hospitals, etc. Commiting a crime, having a car wreck, any kind of law violation while on marijuana or any other psychologically active drug or alcohol should result in severe penalties and make one liable for civil actions. Employers should be able to decline to hire and should be able to fire those using marijuana. If ever legal in Tennessee, the legal use of marijuana should nevertheless be strictly controlled and it should be taxed at a very high tax rate to help offset the damage that it will do. I hate that stuff and I do NOT want to be around anybody using it. If it was up to me, it would all be destroyed and that plant species made extinct.

    • E.m. buckles…hah where do I start…I guess I could start by saying first and foremost I do not use marijuana but I do have a great story to share with you that saved my fathers life..it all started when he was diagnosed with cancer..he was miserable could not eat sleep just constantly hurt..marijuana changed that for him. As bad as he had gotten before hand he thought we were going to lose him.. that was until he then started using the herb. The very next day he started to eat didn’t hurt and had a better well sense of being…marijuana in general can be used by many different types of people. Very respective individuals or pure slum trash. 99.8% think of the thugish slummy trashy drug heads when the word marijuana is used…it is a beautiful thing that we have such a great resource that doesn’t involve chemicals that are addictive or will kill your liver or kidneys. Marijuana can be used will a vaporizer that isn’t harsh on the lungs…my point is I see you as everyone else that wants to wipe it off the face of the earth…we need to decriminalize and think past it being a drug. I know a ton of very respectful individuals that have been successful in life that casually use..just my two cents.

    • Well then dont smoke it dont judge us because we like the herb. We dont judge you for drinking a beer or even having a coke. Caffine is one hell of a drug and kids shouldnt drink it. And when a doctor perscribes anphetamines for your 5 year old ADD,ADHD mental disoder and they become FUCKIN ADDICTED TO ANPHETAMINES I WILL FUCKING LAUGH MY HAPPY ASS OFF AT YOUR SKINNY ATTENTION DEPRIVED PIECE OF HUMAN FLESH BULLSHIT. But still if the world would open there eyes and actualy see its medical qualities. I used it in highschool i watched my grades go from all Fs to almost all Bs it allowed me to concentrate and learn what the nasty public school had to offer. Now on to a money situation schools today are dirty unkept and not a good learning enviroment. The tax revenue generated form the legal sale of the plant would be able to fund the upbringing of our countrys public school system. Not to say the millions of our tax dollars going torward the incarceration of non-violent pot smokers. Also the legal cultivation of this plant would cut a major mexican cartel problem. Hundreds of people die each year via the EXTREMELY WEALTHY cartel illegal drug trade. Useless death is the cause of marijuana prohibition. So my non-smoking compadre you have been warned by the stoners of America, Open your tunnel vision eyes and see the posibilities.-AJ

    • Em buckles. You need to be shot. Think about this. Would you rather have a person high driving or somebody drunk and wasted. I really hope they legalize it for sure so i can laugh at all the stupid words that you have typed here. Its people like you that make this country so ignorant. Bitching over A PLANT THAT YOU CANT OVERDOSE ON. This world needs change
      Legalize it!

    • I drive around high all the time aha. its not like being drunk. Do research on it a lot. the herb is not bad for us. Don’t judge us and put people down for smoking something that is a plant. there is so much good use for it. Legalize it!

    • sir, with all due respect, you should really read your Bible m ore carefully…Marijuana was placed on our Earth by GOD HIMSELF!!! nobody concocted it up in a lab…alcohol has to go through a process, you cant pick it, you cannot pick sinus medication or even blood pressure pills….GET WITH THE PROGRAM..possibly you do not have a loved with plagued with cancer, who cannot eat because of chemo, or someone with Multiple Sclerosis..who depends on this God given HERB..to get through their day..you need to do some research dude, i bet youre a drinker tho, or even a cigarette smoker and if youre not, kudos, but chances are, someone or lots ofpeoplple you love, ARE!! and are you ok with tyhis..you are uneducated or just dont give a damn about others and their struggles with EVERYDAY LIFE…so my friend, i suggest you go to a nursing home, or a cancer center…and actually see the difference in someone who can, or cannot have this very useful, organic MEDICINE…GOOD LUCK THOUGH, CAUSE 420 RULES!!!!!Legal or not,marijuana or cannabis will outlive you and yours….

    • Closed-minded people like yourself make me sick. I graduated on the dean’s list from a prestigious college for mechanical engineering and I smoke every day. I do believe it should be handled like alchol whenever an efficient way of testing (other than nanograms in blood) is created. People like you make me sick. I am smarter than you could ever want to be.

  4. I hope they legalize it in Tn!

  5. How can people sit there and say that Marijuana is so “harmful” to the world when NOBODY has seen it in action except for the states that have DROPPED THEIR BALLS and made it legal to smoke. You people look at alcohol as its so fucking safe and cigarettes as well!!! Name ONE!!! ONE FUCKING PERSON who has overdosed on Marijuana. Anybody? At all have a answer. Oh yeah its none, zip, not one person has died from it. Cigarettes shortin your life and GIVES you cancer. They should be called cancer sticks. And alcohol… Wanna count to me ALL the deaths of using alcohol. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE. Would you rather have a drunk driving or a cannabis smoker driving. I go with second choice. Cause funny thing is I DRIVE ALOT WHEN IM STONED. And i also went and took my driving test stoned off my ass. Made a perfect score. Now lets see a alcoholic do that or even make it to the dmv parking lot from there house without putting anyones lives in danger. Drop your balls!

  6. I definitely support the legalization 100%. It would bring so much money to this state and country.

    The inhalation of the smoke is the only harmful thing caused by smoking weed, which can ultimately cause lung and/or throat cancer. I DO smoke weed…. usually daily. IRONICALLY, I have asthma and smoking weed actually clears out my lungs. After losing my job and medical insurance, I can’t always afford asthma medication. If I am having trouble breathing, and don’t have an inhaler or any medicine, I will start having an asthma attack. I can’t afford to go to hospital…. but I light up a bowl or roll a J and 5-10 minutes later I can breath perfectly clear as if I didn’t even have asthma!!! && its a lot cheaper than my medicine.

    I don’t only smoke for that reason, I enjoy it … a lot, just like anybody else who smokes. I would MUCH rather drive high than after drinking. I know my limits and my tolerance and I don’t feel I’m putting myself or anybody else at risk driving high.

    Sooo many economical and health reasons to legalize it. Fingers crossed!!!

    • I voted for some Change(Oboma), and it’s kinda strange that’s all I got in my pocket. Legalize it. It’s ppl like you who don’t understand the world of Reefer, because you never smoked one. If you don’t know about it I suggest you shut up about it!!!

  7. stanley covingoton

    It’s not fair for some and not all. What a Change it would be.

  8. i have hep-c,and can not take pain pills due to swelling,and not being able to use the bathroom for days… the only thing that keeps me out of pain,and keeps me from swelling is pot.. i was a heavy drinker for years,and yes it did along with hep-c destroy my liver.. i blame myself for drinking,and i live with that shit head move…. pot helps me in so many ways… you should not judge someone who smokes pot,because it shows that your i q on the matter is 0.1…. pills kill. alcohol kills.. so why is pills,and alcohol legal,and pot not?? look up facts about pot before you point the finger at people that do… I really hope my government pulls there heads out of there asses on the matter…

  9. It makes me happy and helps me focus in school and also relaxes my depression. So to all who disagree yall can SMA..