Smart-on-Crime Drug Free Zone Bill Passes Legislature

Jun 17, 2020 by AFP

Grassroots group thanks legislature for passing drug free zone reform  

NASHVILLE, TN – Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) today commended the legislature for passing SB 2734, a bill that reforms Tennessee’s harsh drug free zone laws. SB 2734 would reform the state’s drug free zone laws and reduce the zones from 1000 feet to 500 feet and give judges discretion on whether an enhancement is appropriate. The bill now heads to Governor Lee’s desk.

The grassroots group has run statewide, targeted digital ads that direct Tennesseans to a tool that enables them to contact their lawmakers in support of reforming Tennessee’s drug free zone laws.

AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable issued the following statement:

“For too long our state had some of the harshest drug free zone laws in the country that wasted taxpayer dollars and targeted people with no intention of interacting with children. The legislature took a huge step toward making our criminal justice system more just and ending the draconian practice of punishing people far longer than necessary to achieve public safety.

“Thank you to all the members who worked together across party lines to pass these reforms, saving taxpayer dollars and righting a wrong that has been unjustly served to Tennesseans.”


Currently, Tennessee’s drug-free zone laws bump up drug felonies by a level and eliminate the possibility of an early release. As a result, some people receive punishments that far exceed the severity of their crimes – and the state wastes expensive prison bed space on people who committed less serious drug offenses. Automatically and arbitrarily extending just one person’s sentence by ten years costs nearly $300,000 and too often needlessly wastes untold life potential. These resources could be better used addressing addiction, focusing on re-entry programs, and preserving prison space for more serious offenses.