Could Tennessee be state number 29 to say yes to marijuana legalization measures? Yesterday it was reported that two Republican congressmen introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee. For patients in Tennessee with a qualifying sever medical condition, they might have some hope in the future.
While the lawmakers say this will not lead Tennessee closer to legalized recreational marijuana, this would still be a major step for the state as well as a win for the overall legalized marijuana movement. With 28 states in the U.S. now having some form of legalized cannabis, Tennessee might very well be the next one to join.
The bill lays out everything from the licensing of cultivation operations to the specific medical conditions that would qualify a patient for access to cannabis. Here's a break down of the highlights of this proposed bill.
Republicans Leading the Charge
Representative Jeremy Faison and Senator Steven Dickerson are leading the charge to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis for the people of Tennessee. Although the bill is being spearheaded by Republicans, it is likely to hit resistance when it comes to winning over other members of the GOP.
Push Against Opioids
This bill is proposed in an effort to fight the rising opioid epidemic in Tennessee and the overall United States. According to Senator Dickerson, "I think there are significant anecdotes and some data that substantiate the proposition that medical cannabis will have a decrease on the consumption of opiates."
There has been a proven decrease in deaths attributable to opiates in the states that have granted patients access to medical marijuana, and Tennessee would presumably be no different.
Severe Medical Conditions
Medical marijuana in Tennessee would not be for people with a bad back or trouble sleeping according to the proposed bill announced this week. The bill would extend access to those with conditions including HIV/AIDS, cancers, Lou Gehrig's disease, PTSD, epilepsy and more. Additionally, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission would have the power to add conditions to the list based on medical findings.
The proposed Tennessee medical marijuana bill would allow for 50 licensed cultivation operations in the state. The first 15 are supposed to be in so called "distressed" parts of Tennessee. These licenses will also provide a revenue stream for the state. Each cultivation operation will be allowed to have one onsite dispensary as well as two separate storefronts. This means as many as 150 dispensaries could pop up across the state of Tennessee.
As far as recommending/prescribing the marijuana, under the proposed bill doctors and nurse practitioners who prescribe other medicines would need to apply to get a license to prescribe marijuana. These licenses will also provide a revenue stream for Tennessee.
Last but not least is the patients, who would have to get a medical marijuana card similar to other states' systems. These $35 cards will provide yet another stream of revenue for the state.
The revenue from medical marijuana legalization would go to a handful of different causes within the state. The breakdown is as follows:
20% - Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
10% - Sheriffs' Association
10% - Police Chief Association
20% - Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
20% - K thru 12 education
20% - Governor's office
For more information on the proposed bill, be sure to check out the story in The Tennessean. Also, check back soon as we will be adding a Tennessee marijuana news section to our growing coverage of state marijuana news. Also, don't forget to connect with us on social media using the links to the right of this article.