What the Possible Legalization of Marijuana Means for Chattanooga

By: Ashley Haggerty

The legalization of marijuana is one of the most controversial and debatable subject matters discussed in the nation today. It raises the question of personal identification and affects almost everyone at some point in time.

Thirty-three states have already passed laws to legalize marijuana. This includes the ten states that have recreationally legalized it. 

In Chattanooga, mixed reports of satisfaction over this topic have been documented.

A variety of hemp and CBD stores are open to the public and sell a variety of medically focused products and glassware customers can buy. CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, is  naturally occurring cannabinoid constituents of cannabis. It is legal in all states in the nation currently.

This of course is a somewhat separate affair than THC dispensaries. THC, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound in cannabis that gives you the feeling of being high. THC and CBD are similar in structure and both come from the cannabis plant, however CBD does not give you the same high feeling that THC does.

 Grass Roots Health Boutique is owned by Elisha Millan and is a medical CBD store that has expressed the aspiration of transitioning to a cannabis dispensary when the time comes. 

The Chattanooga Pulse reviewed the store on their website and discussed Grass Root’s  wishes for future plans.

“We are active in community organizations that want to sensible THC laws in the future,” said Millan. “One of our main goals here at Grass Roots Health is to show that we are a responsible business. That we follow all legislation, and are capable of existing in a regulated environment, and we’re prepared to become a dispensary in the future.” 

Millan fears with the presidential election next year, the possible legalization of marijuana is far away and unlikely to occur anytime soon. 

The controversy continues when considering the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is located close to downtown and have upcoming impressionable students.

 UTC has a policy of amnesty in relation to drugs and alcohol, however it is currently a dry campus in regards to both according to the UTC Student Code of Conduct

The legalization of cannabis in Tennessee could potentially heavily affect the campus in a profound way. The question of whether the university would remain a dry campus or allow the use of cannabis is a heated and contentious query. 

Many students are curious about how it would positively affect their cognitive abilities and attention span in class. 

 Junior David Weeks expressed thoughts on the matter. 

“I believe if it were legal and allowed on campus, many students would be using it every single day.” he said. 

Other students, however, see this as a great business opportunity that could allow economic growth.

Mckenzie Jaynes is a graduate of UTC and has mixed reviews in regards to the legalization of marijuana and dispensaries opening in Chattanooga.

“If local businesses are impacted positively and if our state experiences economic growth from the installation, then I don’t see a problem with it as long as the impacts are closely studied to see its correlated effects,” said Jaynes. “It seems like it’s only a matter of time, so our state and city alike might as well begin the data monitoring period.”

 Tennessee is not far behind in the legalization process according to The Tennessean. A bill approved by the Tennessee House committee would legally allow Tennesseans to use medical grade cannabis. 

About Ashley Haggerty

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