A bill intended as a “pilot project” to strengthen enforcement of beer and liquor licensing laws in the Chattanooga area was amended in a House committee Tuesday to include bars in Knoxville, Farragut and Knox County as well.
HB3633, as amended in the House State and Local Government Committee, mandates more coordination between local beer boards, which issue licenses for beer sales, and the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which issues licenses for the sale of liquor and wine.
It makes several changes in bar licensing laws that are contrary to general state law and provides the revisions will be effective in the “pilot project” areas until July 1, 2014. The Legislature could then decide to extend the changes statewide.
When law enforcement officers saw what appeared to be a small amount of marijuana when at the home of Danielle Elks, director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, they did not launch an investigation, reports WSMV-TV.
Apparently, that related to the circumstances. The officers went to the home last October to notify Elks that her husband had been killed in a traffic accident.
Elks was married to Joel “Taz” Digregorio, the beloved keyboardist in the Charlie Daniels band.
When Digregorio was killed in a car crash on Oct. 12, a THP trooper and two Dickson County deputies went to his home for a death notification.
Elks was in Memphis at the time, but the officers didn’t know…. According to the police summaries, the officers found the back door open and entered, concerned there may have been an intruder and wanting to check on the welfare of the occupants.
When the deputies and the state trooper went in, the deputies say they saw what they both suspected to be marijuana on the kitchen table, describing it as a “green, leafy substance.”
The deputies also found rolling papers, and noted that there was a Governor’s Marijuana Eradication Task Force sticker in the kitchen.
One of the deputies wrote, “It (the suspected marijuana) was brought to the attention of the THP officer.”
One of Elks’ business cards was also found in the home.
A source close to the investigation confirmed there was no attempt to collect the substance, and the THP trooper never launched an investigation.
The ABC employee said it sends the wrong message, and that if drugs are found at an average citizens’ home, even under terrible circumstances, it can still be investigated.
“If you’ve got two people living in the same house, and they don’t know what the other is doing, there’s something bad wrong,” the ABC employee said.
Digregorio’s autopsy showed both alcohol and marijuana were in his system when his car crashed.
“Some people at home seeing this might be saying, the woman just lost her husband. Give her a break,” Finley asked.
… The Channel 4 I-Team was respectful of Danielle Elks given her recent loss, but we did ask her to speak with us to give her side of this story. She declined.