Two Tennessee lawmakers have named a medicinal cannabis bill they are writing after President Donald Trump. Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, announced this week that they will once again attempt to pass medical marijuana legislation. They have named their new bill the Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants Act, or TRUMP Act. The two lawmakers, who are also physicians, say their bill would allow medical research and treatment with cannabis and cannabis extracts.
Earlier this month, Trump said he might support federal bipartisan legislation that would allow states to decide cannabis policy.
“We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes,” Trump told reporters at the time.
However, that bill, the STATES ACT, does not have the support of congressional leadership.
Terry said in a press release that it is now time for medical marijuana to come to the Volunteer State.
“We believe Tennessee patients and physicians have the right to participate in research utilizing cannabis and that our agricultural, higher education, and life science industries are well equipped to be world leaders in this research,” Terry stated in a news release. “If you believe in freedom, advancing medicine, and providing opportunities for our industries, then you should support Tennesseans having the right to research and the right to try agricultural medicines.”
Dickerson noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved medications with synthetic versions of THC.
“And just this week, the FDA approved Epidiolex which is an epilepsy drug derived from cannabis,” he added. “With a proven safety profile of these drugs and of cannabis, we should be able to develop and research medical cannabis products for patients in Tennessee and our patients should have the right to participate in research and treatment under medical supervision.”
Similar Bill Failed Earlier This Year
Dickerson also introduced medical marijuana legislation in January of this year with Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby). That bill, the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018, would have allowed patients with qualifying medical conditions to use cannabis extracts. But the bill would not have allowed patients to smoke cannabis or use edible marijuana products. Qualifying conditions included HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, severe arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and others.
Faison said then that doctors and patients should make health care decisions, rather than lawmakers.
“Some of our sickest Tennesseans desperately want the freedom to choose what is best for their own health, and they want to be able to make that decision with their doctor,” Faison said. “Now is the time for a safe and healthy alternative to opiates, psychotropics, and anti-inflammatories.”
However, in April Dickerson admitted that bill would not pass the legislature.
“Unfortunately, I do not have the votes,” Dickerson said. “Instead of dragging this out interminably…I think the better decision at this point is to put it in the general sub for the summer.”
So far, 30 states have enacted some form of medicinal cannabis legislation. Only this week, voters approved a medical marijuana bill in Oklahoma. And later this year, Michigan voters will decide on recreational cannabis, and Utah will consider an MMJ law.