Earlier this year, three different bills were filed that would all increase the penalty for possessing fentanyl to a Class B felony. One would accomplish this by reclassifying fentanyl as an agent of chemical warfare, though this bill was returned to the Clerk’s desk as two complementary pieces of legislation advanced. Those bills, SB0193 and SB1398, the latter of which is known as the One Pill Will Kill Act, make a pretty straightforward change: they simply increase the penalty to a Class B felony without redefining fentanyl. These bills were signed by Governor Lee on May 11th.
However, when these bills were passing through the legislature, we at SMART heard a lot of concerns about making fentanyl possession a felony. Specifically, advocates wanted to know if this would lead to more Tennesseans winding up in prison with a lifelong felony charge on their record, just because they had a single pill.
So my guest this month is Circuit Court Judge Duane Slone. A strong advocate of drug recovery court and increasing access to medical treatment for addiction, we figured he would be able to give us a good insight into how these bills will impact Tennesseans.
Hosted and produced by Jeremy Kourvelas. Original music by Blind House.
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