In Mississippi, Main Power Supplier Turns Off Lights For Marijuana Businesses

This story originally appeared on Benzinga

After Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Mississippi, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a main supplier of electricity to the state’s northern region, announced that since it is a federally-owned utility company, it must adhere to federal drug laws. So, off with the lights.

In a document obtained by the Daily Journal (and confirmed by the TVA), the federal agency states that “Given this important point, TVA will not direct any federal resources or funds to the cultivation and/or distribution of marijuana.”

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Is this legal?

The statement is unclear if municipal companies that receive TVA power can serve electricity to legal cannabis facilities.

Tupelo Water & Light, a municipal-owned utility company in Northeast Mississippi that receives power from the TVA, did not acknowledge any official communication from the TVA on medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, “the utility said its employees will report to management if they find that a local power company is using TVA services to provide electricity to state-legal cannabis businesses,” reported Marijuana Moment.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D), pushed back against the TVA’s stance, telling Marijuana Moment on Tuesday that medical marijuana “has been legalized in the majority of our states generally by the people’s votes…TVA should not discriminate against legal businesses that need utilities,” Cohen said.

“TVA needs all the business they could get as their rates are way too high already and many want to leave TVA,” Cohen added.

A federal rider continually approved by Congress since 2014 prevents the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws, but it does not affect TVA. 

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