NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Companion bills introduced in the Tennessee House and Senate would grant counties the authority to hold referendums regarding the growth, manufacture, delivery and retail sale of marijuana.

HB1610 and SB1898 were introduced in the House and Senate in January by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) and Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

The bills also decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana across the state, but HB1610 states “it is an offense for a person to distribute marijuana to a minor in an amount that is less than one-half (½) ounce (14.175 grams).”

SB1898 passed on first and second consideration in the Senate in late January and has been referred to a Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB1610 has been sent to a criminal justice subcommittee and scheduled for consideration on February 25.

The bills state “a person or entity is authorized to grow, process, manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess marijuana with the intent to grow, process, manufacture, deliver, or sell marijuana in any county in this state that has SB1898 011521 -2- approved, in accordance with this section, the growing, processing, manufacture, delivery, and sale of marijuana within the county.”

Local zoning regulations must be observed and valid business licenses are required from local governments.

County commissions would have to elect to authorize people and businesses within their respective counties in order for marijuana to be grown, manufactured or sold there.

Under the proposed bills, marijuana could only legally be sold from a retail location.

SB1898 reads that the act will take effect on July 1, 2020, if passed.

You can read both proposed bills in their entirety below:

SB1898 by Murry Lee on Scribd

HB1610 by Murry Lee on Scribd