Federal Power Utility Threatens To Shut Off The Lights On Marijuana Businesses After Mississippi Legalizes Medical Cannabis
A major federally owned electrical utility is threatening that it may cut off its services to areas where companies are cultivating or selling marijuana, regardless of state law.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) released a statement about its federal obligations while cannabis remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, days after the governor of Mississippi signed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state. TVA is a main supplier of electricity to the state’s northern region.
“This is a complex and evolving issue—and one we’ve been following closely,” TVA said in the statement, which was first reported by The Daily Journal. “We respect the role of state government in making these decisions, but as a federal agency, TVA is required to comply with federal statutes.”
The federal utility company argued that while it is under contract to provide wholesale services to local power companies, which are regulated at the state level, federal law means that its “resources and funds may not be purposely used to facilitate activity that potentially violates federal law.”
“Given this important point, TVA will not direct any federal resources or funds to the cultivation and/or distribution of marijuana,” it said.
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, and management “will make a determination regarding our reporting obligations to agencies that may have proper jurisdiction to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act.”