Tennessee is outraged because, despite the anticipated legalization, the TVA will not supply electricity to legal cannabis.
Last week, the Tennessee Valley Authority issued a warning to millions of consumers that it will not give electricity to cannabis enterprises that are legitimately manufacturing cannabis under state law. Tate Reeves, Mississippi Governor, signed legislation to state-legalize medical marijuana.
The Electric Utility Corporation, serving residential and commercial in Tennessee, northeast Mississippi and areas in six southern states, federally owns the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal released a statement by the TVA that notwithstanding state-level cannabis reforms, marijuana remains federally illegal.
“While some states have enacted (or will soon enact) laws allowing the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes, marijuana, regardless of its intended use, remains a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970,” the TVA stated. “Federal resources and monies may not be used for the aim of facilitating action that may violate federal law.”
“Given this critical point, TVA will not direct any federal resources or monies to marijuana cultivation and/or distribution,” the agency noted.
The TVA statement went on to say that if any power company was discovered providing electricity to any customer “engaged in activity that may violate federal law governing marijuana,” the activity will be reported to the TVA management, which will take a decision “regarding our reporting obligations to agencies with proper jurisdiction to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act.”
The TVA supplies electricity to many local electric companies in the northeast Mississippi. These include Oxford Utilities, Tupelo Power & Light, Tombigbee Electric Power Association and North East Mississippi Electric Power Association. However, it was unspecified if local power providers would be prohibited from delivering electricity to customers who had cannabis growing facilities.
“I’d point you back to the phrasing in the statement,” Scott Brooks, a TVA spokesperson informed Daily Journal.
The TVA stated that it has contacted federal authorities, including the Department of Justice, to confirm that its actions are in accordance with federal regulations. The utility also stated that it welcomes congressional instructions “that could further inform TVA’s viewpoint.“