Tennessee State Legislator William Lamberth has proposed a bill in this year’s legislative session to modify one aspect of Tennessee’s marijuana laws. Under current Tennessee law, a third conviction of simple possession of marijuana is a felony. Representative Lamberth’s proposal would strike the increased punishment for possession of marijuana.
Sentencing reform needs to be addressed in Tennessee. You get two convictions for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The next conviction is a felony. It is even more troublesome with the doctrine of constructive possession where one could be charged with possession of marijuana simply by being around the drug. This change is long overdue and even comes with some cost savings.
The next step is to increase the amount of marijuana possessed to make it a felony. Possession of over one half ounce of marijuana is a felony. I would propose increasing that amount to at least one ounce. It is time for the legislature to examine the sentencing scheme in Tennessee. We simply cant afford to send everybody to jail for minor offenses. Fix problems rather than lock people away.