The legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada is an exciting milestone. But the question remains- how much will cannabis sales really grow? Will pot shops open up across North America, or just remain a niche market like weed culture already exists in some countries around the world?

The “what is a real id vs driver’s license” is a question that comes up often when people are trying to find out if someone is for real or just another act. The answer is that it depends on the state and what they’re doing.

Will the plea for marijuana legalization in Tennessee once again fall on deaf ears and closed minds, as it has so many times before? The “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act,” SB2598/HB1968, is a measure introduced in Tennessee’s Volunteer State. If the measure passes the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, May 5, it will be a watershed moment in the state’s history.

When it comes to good cannabis reform, the American South is a little behind the times. Many southern states continue to cling to antiquated cannabis regulations. Cannabis prohibition was founded on a foundation of ignorance and prejudice. For far too long, authorities have exploited cannabis as a weapon to harass and imprison inhabitants of the wonderful state of Tennessee.

“Despite identical consumption rates, African-Americans are 3.6 times more likely than white persons to be arrested for marijuana possession,” according to an ACLU research. Due to racism and racial profiling in Tennessee, African Americans have a 3.2 percent greater chance of getting arrested for cannabis than Caucasians. Tennessee isn’t exactly a cannabis-friendly state. Due to closed eyes, ears, and brains, they are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in tax income and a vibrant tourism economy.

Tennessee is a high-ranking state, but not in a good way.

Tennessee is seventh among the states with the highest rates of cannabis possession arrests. With an estimated 820 arrests of African-Americans per 100,000 compared to 255 arrests of Caucasians per 100,000, Tennessee has the 13th highest rate of arrests for cannabis possession in the country.

“For decades, marijuana prohibitions have been used to imprison black and brown people, squander public money, and exacerbate the mass incarceration catastrophe,” according to the ACLU research. Tennessee seems to have a penchant for incarcerating people. I didn’t suppose they meant “Tennessee time” in that sense.

When it comes to imprisonment rates in state prisons and municipal jails, Tennessee ranks second among six adjacent states, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. In 1983, there were an estimated 14,000 people incarcerated in governmental facilities. When we fast forward to 2015, that number has risen to 48,000. “In Tennessee, Blacks make up 18 percent of the population but 36 percent of the jail population and 42 percent of the prison population,” according to the Vera Institute of Justice. Since 1978, the imprisonment rate for African-Americans in Tennessee has climbed by 136 percent.

A troubling trend emerges when we examine the neighboring seven-state area, which includes Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. “Tennessee has the second-highest rate of jail admissions and the third-highest prison imprisonment rate per 100 thousand population,” according to the Vera Institute.

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If signed into law, the Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act would have a significant impact on Tennessee’s future. Adults in the state would be able to possess up to 60 grams of flower or 15 grams of cannabis extracts under the new law. Adults would be able to transfer such funds among themselves. Citizens in Tennessee would be able to grow up to 12 cannabis plants on their own property under the terms of the law, as long as certain safety standards were followed. SB2598/HB1968 would also authorize parents or legal guardians to provide medicinal cannabis to minor children suffering from medical ailments.

Cannabis users in Tennessee may be in for some good news soon.

It isn’t full-fledged legalization, but it is unquestionably a step in the right direction. Let’s only hope politicians don’t repeat the same mistakes they’ve made in the past when attempting to take this step. The state of Tennessee might definitely benefit from the increased cash that cannabis may bring in. Cannabis items sold in Tennessee are subject to municipal, state, and federal taxes, as well as a 15 percent marijuana tax.

The administration and enforcement of the new cannabis legislation would get half of the tax revenue generated. A fund helping police wounded in the line of duty and the families of slain officers would get 20% of the revenues collected. 20% would go to a legal pension reserve for state employees, 5% to educate youngsters about the dangers of cannabis, and 5% to administrative expenses.

These taxes are clearly apportioned in a manner that demonstrates that Tennessee’s elected officials are attempting to plug gaps in the state’s financial framework. Filling these gaps with tax income from marijuana sales might be just what they need.

Tennessee is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Cannabis legalization would result in a significant rise in tourism in the state. People from all around the nation and the globe would go even farther to see the Great Smoky Mountains. The Smoky Mountains will be the most smokiest they’ve ever been the day Tennessee legalizes cannabis.

Employers will have the ability to evaluate cannabis usage for job candidates if the Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act passes and becomes law. Cannabis usage would be prohibited in public spaces, boats, airplanes, and cars. Let’s hope that Tennessee’s elected leaders pay attention to the people’s wishes and pass SB2598/HB1968.

If Tennessee passes this bill, they will be helping to lead the way for constructive cannabis reform in states that are still fighting to let go of the past. South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, and Kentucky are just a few of the states. It’s past time for the rest of the country to catch up to the states that have legalized cannabis.

Recognizing-Women-of-Color-Shaping-the-Cannabis-Space

Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist who is working to remove prohibition throughout the world for a brighter future for everyone. Ashley is passionate about spreading knowledge about the goddess plant known as cannabis. She thinks that a single seed can tilt the scales, and that by working together to eradicate the stigma around cannabis, we can help it reach its full potential internationally.

The “what does a real id look like” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is not always easy to find, and usually depends on what state you live in.

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