State rep. considers withholding highway funds if marijuana ordinance passes in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It's a smoking hot topic in Memphis, but some lawmakers in Nashville aren't too high on reducing the penalty for small amounts of marijuana.

"I would hope they don't proceed in this reckless manner," said Representative William Lamberth. "I hope these laws will be discussed at the state level where they really matter."

Representative Lamberth said he's against the ordinances proposed in Memphis and Nashville as an attorney and lawmaker.

He said he doesn't think it's right for cities to veer from state law, and he's against the punishment being up to officer discretion.

"That makes it basically Russian roulette for anyone that might be in violation of the law depending on what officer they might come into contact with," said Rep. Lamberth.

But the councilman proposing the ordinance said that's always the case.

"Officers have discretion right now," said Councilman Berlin Boyd. "If you get pulled over right now for speeding, an officer has the discretion to give you what's on the radar gun or saying, 'Hey, we're going to give you five miles over.'"

Rep. Lamberth said if either ordinance passes in Nashville or Memphis, he'll consider filing a bill that would withhold highway funding from them.

"I hope it would not come to that," said Rep. Lamberth.

It's something Councilman Boyd is paying no mind to, noting such a move would cripple the largest tax base in Tennessee.

The ordinance will go before City Council again this Tuesday.

If it makes it through that meeting, it'll go through to its last reading on October 4.