Medical marijuana, juvenile justice among TN’s top issues for year ahead

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee’s General Assembly convenes Wednesday with new leaders and the largest freshman class in decades.

Lawmakers are set to debate hundreds of bills that will impact the lives of every Tennessean.

Education, healthcare and approving Tennessee's budget will be top issues as they always are.

But this year lawmakers are also expected to focus a lot of time on medical marijuana, sports betting and juvenile justice reform.

Nashville Republican Steve Dickerson will restart his push to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee.

Thirty-three states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana in some form. Supporters believe it's time for Tennessee to join them.

A Knoxville representative will introduce a bill that would allow counties to decide if they want sports betting in their area.

This follows a Supreme Court decision last year that struck down a ban on sports betting nationwide--but it's up to each state to decide whether they want to legalize it.

One issue getting a ton of attention now is juvenile justice reform.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted clemency to Cyntoia Brown, who's serving a life sentence for killing a man who bought her for sex when she was 16.

Brown will be released in August after serving 15 years.

Democrats said there are other Cyntoia Browns out there and they plan to push for legislation to fight sex trafficking and to reform Tennessee's juvenile justice system.

Lawmakers will also have to work with a new governor soon. Governor-elect will take office on January 19.

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