The capitol building of Tennessee.

Brent Moore

MMJ Bill Introduced in Tennessee

Two Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced medical cannabis legislation and are urging citizens who support its use to “educate” opponents, according to a report from the Tennessean. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison and Sen. Steve Dickerson.

“At its heart, I really do think this is a very Republican, conservative bill,” Dickerson said in the report. “I know that’s a little counterintuitive, but it gets the government out of our lives.”

Dickerson sponsored similar legislation in 2015 with now House Republican Caucus chairman Rep. Ryan Williams. That bill never made it out of committee.

“What this bill is not is opening the door to recreational use; this is not a bill that will allow people to get high on the streets,” Dickerson, a physician, said. “This is, however, a bill that would bring a necessary medicine to some of the sickest and most critically ill Tennesseans.”

Under the bill, medical cannabis would be available for conditions such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, seizures, Alzheimer’s, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The state Health Department and Higher Education Commission would be permitted to add conditions to the qualifying list. The state departments of Agriculture, Safety, and Health would help develop rules and licensing pricing. Patients would be required to pay a $35 fee for their card.

Under the measure, 50 cultivations sites would be allowed in the state, with the first 15 permitted in “distressed” regions.

Taxes from the program would be dispensed to law enforcement, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, K-12 education and the executive branch.

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