Most Of Nashville’s Mayoral Candidates Back Marijuana Decriminalization
By BLAKE FARMER
from Nashville Public Radio WPLN http://goo.gl/80t41r
While cannabis remains a controlled substance under federal law, states and even cities have voted to either legalize or at least back off enforcement of marijuana possession laws.
Most of Nashville’s mayoral candidates support the decriminalization of marijuana to some degree. They were asked about the issue this week at a forum hosted by the Nashville Bar Association and moderated by WPLN.
Cities around the U.S. have been backing off enforcement of marijuana possession. There’s a petition circulating that would have Nashville do the same. It calls for a referendum by voters that could end up on the same ballot with the mayor’s race in August.
“I’ve thought for a long time that the criminalization of small amounts of marijuana was totally unfair,” attorney Charles Robert Bone said.
Bone said he views marijuana more like underage drinking, even though the punishment is often far more severe.
Former school board chair David Fox called possession of marijuana a “trivial offense.” At-large councilwoman Megan Barry and charter school founder Jeremy Kane focused their comments more on the disproportionate number of African Americans charged with marijuana possession crimes.
Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry called decriminalizing marijuana “an option,” adding that he’d prefer to look at discriminatory sentencing laws.
Two candidates are leaning away from loosening local laws related to marijuana.
“I think the police need to use their judgment and follow the law,” businesswoman Linda Rebrovick said. “The law is there for a reason.”
Real estate developer Bill Freeman said he’d rather not make the city a “pot destination,” though he would support action on the federal level.
Click here to listen to sound clips of the candidates’ remarks: http://goo.gl/80t41r