State of Tennessee Archives: on Drugs


Marquita Bradshaw: Support the full legalization of recreational marijuana

I support the full legalization of recreational marijuana. We need to lead Tennessee in this industry that can not only help our economy but also begin to give Black & brown Tennesseans entrepreneurship, alongside restorative justice to those who have been impacted by our outdated & predatory drug laws.
Source: 2020 Tennessee Senate campaign website MarquitaBradshaw.com Aug 26, 2020

Manny Sethi: Wants to promote faith-based recovery programs for addicts

Sethi said he wants to promote faith-based recovery programs for those facing addictions. He became a Christian after the death of his father and said his own faith guides every decision he makes. He, along with his wife Maya and two children, attends McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville.
Source: Hartsville Vidette on 2020 Tennessee Senate race Jun 6, 2020

Marsha Blackburn: Stiffer penalties for deceptively trafficking in fentanyl

U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Zero Tolerance for Deceptive Fentanyl Trafficking Act. The bill would increase penalties for fentanyl traffickers who intentionally misrepresent the drug to unknowing customers.

"What fentanyl has done to Tennesseans, families & communities is just devastating, and those criminals responsible for distributing these drugs must face serious penalties. Addressing the opioid crisis requires a multifaceted approach from officials at the local, state and national levels. [Let's] combat the tragic reality of opioid addiction and to hold drug traffickers accountable for their dangerous conduct," said Blackburn.

Dealers who intentionally misrepresent their product as a non-fentanyl substance would face a 20-year sentence. If the dealers intentionally included fentanyl to cause death--to increase the reputation of their product's potency--then the offense becomes death penalty eligible.

Source: Senate office press release on 2018 Tennessee Senate race Feb 27, 2020

Manny Sethi: Let local officials have more authority on opioid crisis

It's clear that we need to put more power into local officials, because they know what is best for the people in their community. We need to punish pill-pushers who are pushing fentanyl. We need the federal government to give more decision making authority to local communities. Our local mayors and sheriffs know more in their little fingers than D.C. bureaucrats do in their whole bodies. There is no one size fits all solution.
Source: 2020 Tennessee Senate campaign website, DrMannyForSenate.com Jan 12, 2020

Bill Lee: Fight Medicaid fraudulent distribution of opioid medications

Another way to lower health care cost is to combat Medicaid fraud. Tackling fraud in Medicaid is particularly important as we work to prevent the fraudulent distribution of opioid medications.

To support that effort, we are creating 24 new positions in the state's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Together these efforts will place downward pressure on the cost of coverage.

Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Tennessee legislature Mar 6, 2019

Bill Lee: Drug traffickers should fear Tennessee

We must also take bold steps to stop the scourge of drugs illegally trafficked into our state. I pledged to make Tennessee a state that drug traffickers fear, and I will make sure that our prosecutors and our law enforcement have the tools they need to make that a reality. We are increasing the penalties on dangerous drugs like fentanyl and making it clear that we will have no leniency on high level drug dealers who target the residents of this state.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Tennessee legislature Mar 6, 2019

Bill Lee: Opposes recreational marijuana; wait on medical marijuana

Q: Do you support legalizing or decriminalizing medical or recreational marijuana?

Karl Dean (D): Legalize medical use. No legalization of recreational marijuana, but possibly decriminalize small amounts.

Bill Lee (R): Opposes legalizing recreational marijuana; says further exploration of medical use is needed.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Tennessee Governor race Oct 9, 2018

Karl Dean: No recreational marijuana; decriminalize light medical use

Q: Do you support legalizing or decriminalizing medical or recreational marijuana?

Karl Dean (D): Legalize medical use. No legalization of recreational marijuana, but possibly decriminalize small amounts.

Bill Lee (R): Opposes legalizing recreational marijuana; says further exploration of medical use is needed.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Tennessee Governor race Oct 9, 2018

Marsha Blackburn: Don't loosen federal regulations marijuana

Q: Legalize or decriminalize marijuana?

Marsha Blackburn (R): No. Has voted against loosening federal regulations.

Phil Bredesen (D): Unclear on legalization but "federal government should give states the rights to make those decisions."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Tennessee Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Phil Bredesen: Let states decide on marijuana legalization

Q: Legalize or decriminalize marijuana?

Marsha Blackburn (R): No. Has voted against loosening federal regulations.

Phil Bredesen (D): Unclear on legalization but "federal government should give states the rights to make those decisions."

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Tennessee Senate race Oct 9, 2018

Bill Lee: Raise penalties on drug traffickers, aid non-violent addicts

We need to attack the epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction and increase penalties for drug traffickers and put non-violent addicts on a path to wellness.
Source: The Tennessean on 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial race Aug 2, 2018

Phil Bredesen: Get tough on opioid prescriptions from pain clinics

Q: What are your thoughts on addressing the opioid epidemic?

A: Obviously, it's a terrible problem. When I was governor there was a methamphetamine problem, and I think just like then, there is no one single solution to it. I think going after some of the manufacturers, and the way they are marketing and promoting these drugs, is a part of the question. There certainly are clinics around that exist for the purpose of making these prescriptions, these pain clinics and so on. I think we should be very tough on them, and frankly, I'd also like to see physicians themselves take a little more responsibility. I think it's just too easy to write a prescription for 30 or 60 days when someone might only need five of them. Unlike some of the other kinds of drug epidemics we've had, so much of this starts with perfectly legal prescriptions that are given unsuspecting people, people who never thought they would become hooked. That leads to some of these other abuses.

Source: Johnson City Press on 2018 Tennessee Senate race May 4, 2018

Karl Dean: Provide treatment for opioids while stepping up prosecution

The number of opioid-related deaths in Tennessee has skyrocketed over the last two decades. More people are now dying in Tennessee of drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents, and 72% of the state's overdose deaths are opioid-related. Karl believes the government response to opioid use should match the level of public health crisis it has become. To that end, he supports the recent work of the state legislature's opioid task force.

Karl knows that opioid addiction is a complex issue and that more must be done to provide treatment programs while also stepping up prosecution of drug dealers. He also agrees with the state's opioid task force that solutions must address the overuse of legal access to drugs. Tennessee has the second highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country with opioid prescriptions in our state outnumbering residents 4 to 1. As governor, Karl will work in partnership with the healthcare community to identify and address the root causes of the state's opioid crisis.

Source: 2018 Tennessee Gubernatorial campaign website KarlDean.com Mar 21, 2018

James Mackler: Legalize medical marijuana for PTSD and chronic pain

Hundreds of thousands of Americans struggle with PTSD, addiction, and chronic pain. For some, current forms of treatment are ineffective and others carry a laundry list of dangerous and life-threatening side effects. Some of these individuals are veterans who are struggling to manage injuries related to their service, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. The vast majority of veterans and their families are in favor of increasing research into and legalizing medical marijuana.
Source: 2020 Tennessee Senate campaign website email to DailyKos.com Nov 9, 2017

Karl Dean: Medical marijuana ok, but opposes recreational use

Tennessee's gubernatorial election is still over a year away, but with a newly appointed committee on medical marijuana, [some analysts] expect cannabis to play a large role in the election.

Democratic candidate Karl Dean said he would be supportive of medical marijuana, but opposes recreational use. Dean also said he believes Tennessee should be guided medical professionals as it relates to medical marijuana.

Source: WBIR-TV on 2018 Tennessee governor race Sep 4, 2017

Bill Haslam: Get tough on meth crimes

There will be no service reductions in Human Services and minimal shifts in Mental Health such as alcohol and drug rehabilitation services. In the area of law enforcement we are supporting steps to address a growing problem here and across the country. The manufacturing and use of meth has increased 45% from 2009 to 2010. Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year to house those who make and sell meth, to care for children removed from homes where meth is being made and for environmental cleanup The cleanup cost is covered by state and local law enforcement agencies. It is time to get tough on this crime by making it more difficult to make meth in our state and making it easier to track down and prosecute the offenders. In Corrections, we are restoring funds to keep the Whiteville Prison in Hardeman County open. Additionally we will continue to provide $35 per day per prisoner to local governments for housing state prisoners so that we will not pass off any of our costs to local government.
Source: 2011 State of the State speech to Tennessee legislature Mar 14, 2011

Lamar Alexander: Combat Meth Act: fund law enforcement crack down

Alexander praised final passage of the Combat Meth Act which provides new resources for law enforcement to crack down on methamphetamine (meth) producers and distributors.

"The Combat Meth Act is the toughest, most comprehensive anti-meth package ever passed by the Congress," said Alexander, who cosponsored the legislation. "It fights the biggest problem faced by law enforcement officials dealing with the meth problem " choking off the supply of the materials needed to manufacture the drug. "I'm hopeful this legislation will stop the growing number of meth labs and the spread of this dangerous and destructive drug," he added.

The goal of the Combat Meth Act is to provide legitimate consumers with access to the medicine they need, while cutting off meth cooks from the ingredients they use to produce meth. The legislation is modeled after a successful Oklahoma law which led to an immediate 80 percent decline in meth lab busts.

Source: Vote-USA.org on 2010 Tennessee Senate incumbents Oct 4, 2008

  • The above quotations are from State of Tennessee Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Drugs.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Drugs:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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Page last updated: Jan 29, 2021