Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Advances

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Advances

NASHVILLE, TN — A proposal to legalize medical marijuana has advanced in the Tennessee House, passing a House Health subcommittee hearing Tuesday on a voice vote. It now goes before the whole House Health Committee and must clear other panels before going to the House floor for a vote.

A similar bill filed in the Senate is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee, but no hearing date has been set.

House Bill 294, and its companion measure Senate Bill 251, would allow patients with specified diseases or conditions to use medical marijuana and would set up a state-regulated and -licensed distribution system.

A previous proposal to legalize medical marijuana made it through Tennessee House committees two years ago, but died in the Senate. Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis), sponsor of HB 294, thinks her bill has a good chance of passing this year due to increased acceptance and usage of medical cannabis across the country.

Senate. Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis), sponsor of HB 294, thinks her bill has a good chance of passing. (official photo)

“Medical cannabis is becoming more generally accepted in our society,” Richardson says. “Over 80 percent of the American population feels that medical cannabis should be legalized.”

Richardson says most of her colleagues in the legislature support the idea of legalizing medical marijuana, although she admits that some believe it would be political suicide to vote in favor of the bill.  She hopes to change their mind, saying that compassionate care should outweigh the fear of losing a few votes at the ballot box.

“It’s making people understand, mo matter which side of the political spectrum it’s on, that it is a compassionate way to treat certain illnesses,” she said.

Richardson says that while legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee, her proposed bill would create some of the toughest access standards among medical marijuana states. It would  a licensing and enrollment program for the production, distribution and dispensing of marijuana for qualifying medical conditions.

Unique to the proposed Tennessee legislation, the measure would also allow a medical marijuana patient to enroll in a “safe access” program in which the patient can receive a prescription from a licensed practitioner for marijuana and receive the product from a licensed pharmacist at a participating pharmacy.

  • supporter of marijuana

    i am bipolar and have epilepsy and the meds i am on can be harmful to the liver.i think we should pass the bill for people like my self and others with cancer aids and chronic pain and even for alcoholics and other people addicted to hard drugs and on the plus side to that we could even make paper from the left over product to cut mack on clear cutting our forrest which in turn would make the land scape  much better to erosion snd would cut back on fuel used to harvest trees that we need it looks like a win win for everybody.back to the medical condiotions it helps it people with mental problems aids cancer pain and epilepsy if it could do all thiswhy not use it for medication for people like me that needs it .i have never smoked it before but im all for it if it gets me off most of the meds im already on 

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  • Charley7623

    Im an excited Tennessee resident and “voter” I hope the bill 294 goes through. I understand that some politicians think it will hurt them at the polls to vote for it, but im of the opinion that it will result in the oposite. The majority of people accept cannabis use on medical and recreational use. I believe if they did their job and voted for what “we the people” want they would have no problems getting re-elected. Its a new age, cannabis use is everywhere, being used in private homes and not causing any problems. People shouldn’t have to worry about going to jail that obey the law do it in private and do not cause any problems.

  • VOTER for marijuana

    Some use the argument that if marijuana is legalized that it will get into the hands of children. I agree that would be bad. On the other hand they should wake up and see that its everywhere, the war on drugs is a waste of time and money. Kids are getting it now with no problems. Drug dealers do not id their customers and they don’t pay taxes. If it were legalized sure some would be bought from mexico and some would grow their own, but if U.S. farmers could grow it and sell it cheaper than the current black market prices the tax money could be useful to the government and like (supporter of marijuana) said the rest of the plants could be used to make paper, clothing and all sorts of other things. Do some reserch most of the historical documents that were used to found this country were written on paper made from hemp. There is power in numbers, we the people have the numbers on our side if we all speak up and tell the government what we want and stay after them they cant ignore us voters forever. Prohibition does NOT work. It creates black markets with no regulation.

  • Nickfurr

    if medicinal marijuana is legalized in Tennessee it would open up jobs for people, and also create a safe and natural way to manage their illnesses

  • GOD, creator of MARIJUANA

    One might argue, “well it will become more accessible to the children if it were to pass.” But honestly people, marijuana is SOOO easy to get at anytime, even with it being illegal. It wouldn’t change a thing. Also, so what if marijuana gets into the hands of children? It does not harm any part of the body, nor is it addictive, nor does it “alter” the minds of users. It is extremely ignorant not to pass marijuana in Tennessee, if not everywhere!  

    If marijuana were to be made legal:
    1. The war on drugs in Tennessee would save an incredible amount of money. (war on drugs is not, or will never be successful).
    2. Create THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of jobs.
    3. Less deaths due to the consumption of marijuana versus alcohol.
    4. Addition of 34 million dollars to Tennessee when legalized.
    5. Huge majority of the civilians of Tennessee would be happier and not be pissed of at Tennessee. 

    Quotes by famous people-

    “Prohibition. . . goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded” -Abraham Lincoln

    “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” – Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

    “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use… Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana.” – Jimmy Carter, U.S. President

    • http://www.facebook.com/justin.massingill.1 Justin Massingill

      Sadly you will still lose your job if you fail a drug test for pot till it gets legalized. Really pisses me off. So keep that in mind people. This is great news though!!

  • The Truth Sayer

    Cannabis is a plant accepted by every society up until the 20th century. 
    The only reason it was made illegal in the first place and this statement is proven, is that William Randolph Hearst didn’t want to lose money in the paper industry by converting to hemp so he hosted smear campaigns supported by friends and payed off people, lawyers etc to make it illegal. On top of  that, the U.S Government knows of the restorative properties of The Component THC found in Cannabis. These effects that are caused by the plant are purely beneficial to most all animals. Anti Inflammatory properties cause dissipation of cancer cells and many other inflammatory diseases like diabetes and bronchitis. The Government refuses  to look into it any further because of the money the FDA would lose if it were made legal. Its all evident and very logical, Sometimes that’s all it takes. If you ask me to back my statement up, then I will by telling you to do your research and find out on your own. 

  • Rickydial

    it don’t take a rocket scientist to determine that the money spent on keeping marijuana illegal! would be money saved plus revenue gained from legalization.$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • grouchyoldfart

    People with terminal liver illness have to take pain meds that damage the liver although there are some pain meds that do not attack the liver they attack the kidneys and are very addictive 1 example is morphine a very harsh drug in states where medical marijuana is legal patients do not take as much morphine because medical marijuana would lower the amount of harsher drugs she takes it would extend her life it is a safer and does not harm other vital organs give her the safer alternative please consider people like her in your decision as her quality of life in her last 5 years are in your hands dear sirs please give her a better choice all citizens deserve the rite to lower pain in terminal illness please do not delay this bill my girl friend of 17 years means very much to me every day will be precious .

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1549531274 Suntanz Allyear

    As a retired wounded combat Vet. I can assure you to say it should be my right to smoke Marijauna for medical uses, versus Dr’s and the VA cramming tons of pills down my throat that are hardly effectice. And because I smoked Marijuana, now withhold treatment options, and have labled me as a drug abuser. I had less side effects, and more problems taking 7+ prescribtions pills, lotions and patches.. than just lighting up to deal with Chronic pain, Anxiety stress etc.. they have created more of an unstable and livelyhood.. Versus just allowing me to use Marijuana for medical purposes. 17 states use it.. And as I used to live in such states.. Now that I live in TN..and travel back and forth to home state (DE).. Im frown upon and neglected from the proper care that were told we earned. Federal laws need to cover us. As also, even just CO takes away 30 some millions of dollars from Drug cartels. How is this not moving forward for America? Besides how much money is made from taxing Marijuana already,and government and state usages…. And at least giving Vets, the freedom we earned and fought for a right to choose Medical Marijuana useage.. almost makes me ashamed and regret I ever served,got hurt, lost my soldiers, family and what used to be a normal lifestyle..Ive been suffering long enough, and spilled blood on foreign soil for less.. I want my exceptional care, even If I have to manage it myself.. Non the less, its not like more than 80% agree and perhaps even more use it illegal anyways.. One state can legalize it for recreational, 17 other for medical..But you still regulate states that can or cant.. Thats not freedom.. Andlaws cant be strict to regulate it.. no different than tobbacco or alcohol..Which are far worse drugs than Marijuana in the first place.. Not to mention this country was founded, built and sheltered by hemp alone.. And we could use it for economic purposes as it grows stronger, and would create jobs.. Vs tearing down tress
    (R) SGT Anderson Dco 1-502INF “Blackhearts” 101st AA DIV..

  • Why not?

    Legalize it for recreational purposes, it is ridiculous that people are going to jail for something that harms nobody, and if anything marijuana provides medicinal benefits. It remains illegal based on lies.

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  • https://www.facebook.com/tngreenerpastures Seth B Green

    i have cerebral palsy an seizures as well as Ms an i have been living in Tennessee my whole life an i was given the poorest insurance that was free an the doctors that would give me medication to help my illnesses is making everything worse YOU HAVE NO IDEA . They do not know really what they are dealing with or able to help give me the proper healthcare. I started using Cannabis an it was pretty much like a miracle. I went from having 80 seizures in a week to 3 or 4 every couple of months. I have tried the Feds An all there departments, have even called the White House. No HELP. Im am needing the House Floor an the Senate floor to hear me out. There are so many people in Tennessee that are using it for uses like mine an they are living a better life. I am willing to speak out for the people of Tennessee an go in front of them like i said an tell them the TRUTH. The state is also taking away my Religious rights away from me. I am in the process of filing a Medical Lawsuit. This will be a good time to get me on Tv so i can be a voice for Tennessee an its patients…… An for all peoples rights. Thomas H. Clarke please contact me loulou21121@yahoo.com or the facebook page i run https://www.facebook.com/tngreenerpastures

  • https://www.facebook.com/tngreenerpastures Seth B Green

    I live in Bluff City, Tennessee and I would like to address an
    issue I have and that is Medical Marijuana being legalized in the state
    of Tennessee.
    I am 22 years old and I have Cerebral Palsy on my right side as well as Seizures Artistes MS in my back.
    have been in and out of the hospital since I was born. The Doctors that
    I have talked to, told me they would get me the best health care
    available. Unfortunately, they have not.
    They will not even give me pain medication under the new health laws.
    went to a Pain Management Facility in my local city and they said they
    would give me steroid shots in my back. I did research and my findings
    that 6 people have died receiving the steroid shots.
    I do not want to take the shots due to the high risks involved.
    family doctor told me to smoke marijuana even though it is illegal.
    Marijuana actually helps my Cerebral Palsy and my pain issues.
    pain I experience is leading to more frequent seizures, so many in fact,
    I’m not sure how much more pain I can endure. I hate breaking the law
    but I no longer want to live in pain.
    I would like to reduce the pain
    the best way possible and without the use of artificial drugs that
    actually only cover up the disease and get me addicted. Medicinal
    Marijuana does not do either of these things. It is a cure and not a
    cover up.
    When the doctors refuse to give me medication, I have to find something and Marijuana is helping.
    It shows in studies that Marijuana helps in Arthritis as well as my seizures.
    I have contacted The White House and my local District Representative via both email and phone. I have not gotten a response from The White House but of the Representatives, 1 out of 5 agreed.
    I have tried emailing local news stations to get my word out but they also will not put it on the air.
    I have contacted CNN to no avail.
    I live in a very difficult life with this Cerebral Palsy, the pain worsens by the day and it also gets worse as I get older.
    the side-affects that come along with the Cerebral Palsy, I have
    seizures from the pain, anxiety attacks which can last up to 10 minutes
    with loss of breathing and blueness of my body.
    I cannot even get my
    GED to live a productive life like I need to, no can I enter the work
    force which makes me feel extremely bad.
    I am a burden to my Mother,
    who has to stay with me 24/7 taking care of me. I feel I have aided in
    the destruction of marriages due to my disease.
    I have been to Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. They will not help either.
    With doctors not knowing all there is to know about Cerebral Palsy, I have been given the wrong drugs. That is very scary.
    relieves the muscle tightness in my throat and chest so I can actually
    breath normally and reduces the anxiety attacks and seizures.
    With no help in sight, I have taken matters into my own hands even if it means breaking the law.
    I do not have the financial means to move from the state of Tennessee…I don’t know where else to turn.
    Have you ever felt so helpless in your life? It’s no life at all, I can attest to that.
    Thank you for taking the time to read, for the interest and hopefully a suggestion for assistance. If there is a reporter that is willing to do a story on me to gained support on this cause. Contact me i will be filing a human rights lawsuit as well



  • Brown Sugar

    Legalize marijuana for recreational use. It is harmless and to many good people are being thrown in jail for this. Prohibition on marijuana is just wrong. Tennessee should legalize marijuana for everyone.

  • Mary Jane Thorpe

    I sure hope it passes so I can go home. Moved to Colorado almost a year now… having a really hard time here…