Tennessee House Committee Approves Very Limited Medical Cannabis Bill

Lawmakers in Tennessee’s House Health Committee voted to advance a measure that would allow adult cancer patients to consume medical cannabis via THC-rich cannabis oil.

Full story after the jump.

Tennessee’s House Health Committee on Tuesday approved a measure to allow adult cancer patients to use cannabis oil with THC, WBIR reports. Under the plan, patients would need approval from a healthcare provider who would have to write a letter that says the patient’s condition is life-threatening and unresponsive to conventional treatment.

Under the proposal, the letter would only be valid for one year, the oil would only be allowed to be used orally or topically, and it would need to be obtained in a state where the sale of cannabis products is legal.

The language of the measure would essentially require patients to break federal law to obtain the oil as Tennessee does not have a comprehensive medical cannabis program. A bill introduced in the state last month would create a medical cannabis commission were the federal government to remove cannabis from its Schedule I classification; however, the measure would not require officials to create a program, rather just analyze what steps the state should take.

Tennessee is bordered mostly by states that only allow CBD oil for medical purposes and not whole plant medicine. In November, 74% of Mississippi voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in the state. Mississippi borders Tennessee to the south. The state is somewhat nearby Illinois, where cannabis has been available for adults since 2020.

A 2018 poll from Middle Tennessee State University found 81% of Tennessee voters say cannabis should be legalized to some degree, with 44% backing legalization only for medical use and 37% supporting legalization for adult-use.

In the Senate, the medical cannabis bill was sent to the General Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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