Tennessee Hemp Bill Hits Homestretch Hiccup

TENNESSEE: A final vote on a measure in the Tennessee Legislature that would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp was put off for a day. Concerns were raised Monday by some House lawmakers over how the state’s regulation system would work, and sponsor Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, said he’d seek clarification on the potential for criminal prosecution and penalties faced by those accused of growing hemp without a government permit.

Democrats Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley and Mike Turner of Old Hickory, the House minority leader and caucus chairman respectively, raised concern about a provision in the bill declaring that anyone found cultivating hemp without a permit from the state Department of Agriculture could face arrest for marijuana production.

“Shouldn’t we have an amendment that doesn’t so closely correlate hemp and marijuana?” said Fitzhugh. “During the discussion of this bill, there was a lot of separation between marijuana and hemp.”