Medical Marijuana Could Be Coming To Tennessee
A bill has been introduced in Tennessee that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.
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The legislation was introduced by two Republicans, Senator Steve Dickerson (Nashville) and Jeremy Faison (Cosby). If successful, the bill would allow medical marijuana, however, only in the form of oil-based products. The bill would not permit the sale of raw cannabis.
The new legislation does not permit the recreational use of marijuana.
“Now is the time for the General Assembly to embrace thoughtful, medically responsible legislation to help Tennessee’s sickest residents,” Dickerson said in a statement.
It is estimated that at least 65,000 Tennesseans would benefit from the legislation. Patients would be required to qualify for one of the following medical conditions;
- HIV and AIDs
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS
- Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD
- Alzheimer's disease
- Severe arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
Qualifying patients would be required to get a registration card from the state. Registration cards would be equipped with chip readers that allow law enforcement to see details about a patient's purchase, including how much was bought.
The chip reader would also prevent continued purchases after a patient reaches their dosage each month.
The legislation would also require any doctor wishing to participate in the program to obtain a license from the state. Participation is not mandatory.
The Faison-Dickerson bill also allows local governments to hold referendums on whether to allow dispensaries. Counties that do not want to participate could opt out with a majority vote of the county commission.
Lawmakers in Tennessee are divided on the issue. While some are not opposed to medical marijuana (as long as recreational weed is not legalized), others are concerned about the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Earlier this month, Jeff Sessions announced he is rescinding the Obama-era policy that let legal weed flourish in legal states. His move could result in increased federal interventions in matters pertaining to marijuana, even where it is legal by state law.
Other states have since introduced bills to legalize marijuana in some form or another. It remains to be seen whether Tennessee will be the next state to introduce a medical marijuana program.