Bill to lower Tennessee penalties for pot possession fails - WSMV Channel 4

Bill to lower Tennessee penalties for pot possession fails

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A bill to reduce Tennessee's criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana has been defeated in the state House.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/2ovddoo ) reports that the chamber voted 45-44 against the measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Antonino Parkinson of Memphis. It takes 50 votes for measures to pass.

The bill sought to make it a misdemeanor to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Current Tennessee law makes it a felony to possess anything more than half an ounce.

While the measure fell short, it gained bipartisan support, with 23 Democrats and 21 Republicans voting in favor.

House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville abstained, but the next two top Republicans, Majority Leader Glen Casada of Franklin and Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams of Cookeville voted for the bill.

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