Tennessee Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill—But There’s A Catch

Tennessee’s state senate wants to implement medical marijuana…but only if the plant is reclassified federally.
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A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday, passing out of a state Senate committee. But that step forward may be accompanied by a step backwards, as the panel tacked on an amendment to the legislation that would almost certainly lead to a significant delay of its implementation .

In what was described as a “last-minute amendment” by local television station WTVF, the bill would only take effect if marijuana were reclassified on the federal level, which still bans cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. The amendment, according to The Tennessean, was added by Republican state Sen. Bo Watson. The bill will now move to the Senate Government Operations Committee for debate.

A separate medical cannabis measure was introduced in the state House of Representatives last week. That bill, known as the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act, would open the door for patients to with at least one qualifying medical condition to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana. The qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy

HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, muscular sclerosis, opioid addiction, renal failure, severe nausea or chronic pain, among several others. 

That legislation would also establish a so-called Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be empowered to regulate the the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of medical marijuana products. It would also create a state medical marijuana fund to subsidize the program. 

“The general assembly intends to establish a functional framework within which to authorize access to medical cannabis on a regulated basis for patients with qualifying medical conditions and which licenses and regulates the processes for cultivation, production, distribution, transport, selling, and acquiring cannabis for medical use and research,” the bill reads. “The broad purpose of the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act is to increase low-cost public health options, alleviate suffering, develop agricultural business, incentivize research of THC benefits, and expeditiously license and track medical cannabis from cultivation to point of sale within the boundaries of this state.”

The bill also noted that more than two-thirds of the country already has “access to medical cannabis through other state programs,” and that “that peer-reviewed medical studies have established a statistical correlation between reduced opioid-use overdoses in states with medical cannabis programs.”

Unlike the bill offered up in the state Senate, the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act makes no mention of the federal government.

  1. My name is John Gunnels of Dixon Springs, Tn. and I live in pain from back surgeries and nerve damage in my neck. I implore you to take all action to make it legal here in Tennessee. There are many people here that need this bill to be passed. With your help you can help with the law makers which would govern the legalization growing and depestories of this needed product. Thank you for your time.

    John Gunnels

    1. i Am A chronic pain Patient Snd ive been on opiate for years and i need somethig for my pain that will help

  2. I agree me and my wife are disabled with severe back and neck pain and the medical marijuana we get from Michigan from my sister in law really helps more than the pain pills but if we get caught we go to jail trying self Medicate ourselves shame on Tennessee but moonshine and alcohol all ok no one has died from marijuana unlike alcohol many deaths every day from it

  3. I suffer from opioid addiction and I have been on suboxen for 6 years now I would much rather smoke weed then take suboxen that has side effects when you stop taking it I’m all for this bill and hopefully I can smoke weed in stead of popping another pill to take care of my drug addiction

  4. How to quickly boost the economy, creat jobs, get more infrastructure built? Legalize weed on a country wide scale. It won’t take long for the economy to recover and then some. Package it like cigarettes too.

  5. My name is cody Stephen’s please legalize this for medical use I have Crohn’s disease and it is some of the most unbearable pain I have ever felt it controls my job my home life with my two year old son it rules everything and I hate pain pills I have seen them take down some really good ppl into addiction and they dont work good with my body make me sick and hot all kinds of stuff but the herb helps me for up to six hours with pain with just one use. I say please consider this it’s not for everyone I understand but it is for us in pain and I know its illegal so it’s very hard to find and I hate to even get it because I could get in trouble and it affects my son if that happens I just want to be able to live a nice easy life with my child and wife I beg ppl to thank about this and consider ppl in pain that want to do it legally I mean criminals are going to do it no matter what its us that are in pain and want to be on the right side of the law that are suffering from this so please help us

  6. I have sever back and knee pain from over the years of lifting weights. I used to self medicate by smoking marijuana for the pain and it helped 100%. It also gave me the relief to where I built strength due to mo body pain. legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use would help the economy as well as the arrest that are made for small amounts. You would like to profit off of alcohol which has been proven to cause death, but not legalize marijuana which had mo death count. We all know that some of our Dr.’s, nurses, cops, lawyers, judges, firefighters and high profile lawmakers use marijuana. Let’s stop hiding behind feeling shame and open the doors to ways that help heal with some of our sicknesses which it has been proven. Step up your game Tennessee. The times are changing just like your cities ate getting bigger. Think about the jobs that it would create on a “legal” level. Use the money made from legalize marijuana to fix park’s,books for schools, free tuition for schooling, better libraries, better security, creating jobs so people can get out of debt. Let’s get out the stone age and get aboard. This state has more chemical drug users and junkies than marijuana smokers.

  7. My daughter has anoxia brain injury with cognitive issues, anxiety etc., and I truly believe that medical marijuana would be so helpful to her. Please see that this gets pass for people that are suffering with various medical conditions including all traumatic and anoxia brain injuries. Nobody knows how bad these conditions can be until you walk in our shoes.

  8. I have two options I need help deciding which one to choose, either to LIVE or choose Certain Death, My medical condition puts me in the position, to allow others to decide whether to I live or die, this is where I’m undecided what to do, will you help me in my decision, The Department of Veterans Affairs (Federal Government) and The State of Tennessee allows me to be treated with very powerful opiates, FENTANYL, is what the VA in the State of TN, will allow me to possess, control, or abuse that medication. With all parties including myself know I face certain death taking that medication. The Department of Veterans Affairs (federal government) along with state of Tennessee will not let me consume cannabis or provide me access to it, nor possess or control or abuse it, the only substance that will offer me a chance at a managed pain free life. So I’m asking for your help with my decision should I follow the law and take the medication that’s going to cause me certain death I break the law and have a chance at a pain free life, if anything help me make the decision for my children sake.

  9. I’ve been living with MS for 25 years, the Legal drugs that I have used have dangerous side effects, liver failure, PML, kidney damage and other assorted side effects, and if I decline taking those toxic drugs I’m labeled as Non-compliant, cannabis is the only thing that helps with the MS issues and the side effects are HHSPF, Happy, Hungry, Sleepy, Pain Free. Please, PLEASE LEGALIZE CANNABIS, what are they afraid of ? I’ve seen more people suffer from Opioids and have their lives destroyed.

    1. I was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago, but I also had other problems prior to being diagnosed. Some were symptoms of the MS, but others were not. I was on opiates and Xanax. With MS your body is already killing itself. The end result was addiction with no relief. They made me an angry person. One whose family couldn’t stand to be around. I winged myself from the pills. I increased the marijuana. I was using limited amounts due to FDA regulations with the legal drugs I was taking. I don’t feel angry like I did before. My pain is less. My appetite is alot better, still can’t break 100 pounds, but I can eat when I use marijuana. On the opiates I became I guess what you would call an unintentional anorexic. Not because I didn’t want to eat, but because I had no appetite or my throat would close when trying to swallow. That still happens, but not as much as before I increased my use of marijuana. I’m hoping we have a representative that actually has empathy for the Tennesseans suffering from illnesses that would benefit from marijuana. They also dropped my insurance 3 years ago. Prior to that, it stopped covering my copaxone. ($6000) a month. I’ve been without my shot for awhile. Not my choice, although I would prefer something besides a shot. Luckily I’ve not had a relapse. I honestly believe the marijuana has kept a handle on it and kept it somewhat under control. Due to the state laws I can’t get the doses I need. Granted, I don’t smoke 1/8 a day, but that is one of the prescribed doses for some MS patients. With it legalized, that would help give me the option to smoke up to that amount, if needed. We need help.

  10. I am in pain every day from RA and severe back pain, I also am almost always lacking sleep from RLS. I have tried marijuana for these problems and felt so much relief. Please legalize and stop playing games with our lives debating back and forth. It’s the right thing to do.
    Just think how much money our state could save by releasing minor offenses for marijuana from prisons.

  11. I live in KY. just at the Tennessee line it would be awesome to be able to just go there. Since I guess with ole Mitch we will probably be the last state to get legalized after all we have had to go to Tennessee to get booze for years now, until just recently, bet there will be so many restrictions though. I have been traveling to Canada for 25 years n with my hubby & it is awesome there about the weed concerns anyway. Tia

  12. Hello this is Robert Johnson I live in Nashville Tennessee I’ve lived here all my life. I am a seizure patient I have heterotopia. I am mentally disabled. In other states they have legalized marijuana in the use of medical engineering for seizures. I’ve been using THC for my seizures and they make me feel more relaxed in my brain. I was able to get off one of my medications propranolol because of this situation. Are usually have a seizure once a month or when my stress level in my blood pressure level gets too hard that will cause me to have a seizure also. But using the THC mostly at night time not during the day it eases my brain to where I go to sleep better and I have less seizures. The way of using THC for seizures was found in Denver Colorado Where is Charlotte web had seizures too she started out with CBD then she went to THC. Her father wanted this done because of the fact that it helped her seizures and the way they affected her mind and body. Her name was Charlotte web. That’s how they came out with the first CBD company charlottes web. So if we could have this bill passed by the Senate here in Nashville Tennessee this would help all patients in pain where they could switch to THC instead of being addicted to OxyContin and hydrocodone. Which we had had a great increase over the years of people using those medications. But when you use THC it comes from the ground it comes naturally and that hardly has any side effects on you when taking for the correct reasons.I appreciate you letting me make these comments. Robert Johnson

  13. Hello, My name is Bill. I recently became disabled (not by choice) a work related injury. My lower 3 fingers on my left hand are constantly numb and tingly; at the same time I have an awful pain like a stabbing through the back of my wrist as well as a feeling of a cheese greater going across the area I had surgery on around my elbow area. If this don’t take the cake I had a previous injury on my right shoulder which limits me to range. Now the Doctors I have seen want to put me on opioids to relieve the pain. In reality I want it all fixed but realize this will not happen. I refuse to become one of the government issued pill users and stay compliant to what ever may come my way. I do how ever at the moment smoke CBD bud and it does take the edge off but not enough. The THC content in it is to low to really do any good. The pain gets so bad at times I can’t sleep but 2 hours at a time. I have such irregular sleeping habits due to the pain I have just about had enough. I really like the place I live due to the weather conditions all year long. If Tennessee does not stop frigging about with this legalization process I will move to a state that has it.

    1. I live in East Tennessee. I have 3 fused discs in my neck from 20 years ago. Now in result I have not only lumber but now cervical stenosis. Along with bad arthritis and deterioration on all my lower discs. Im in pain even taking 120 percocet a month.
      I for 2 months tried Illegal Marijuana. I could not believe the relief I got. Also I was able to sleep at night without my ambien . The people that smoke pot illegally can get it anytime with the profit going to drug dealers. Why cant the people that truly need its relief have to suffer because big pharma has their hands on politicians pants.
      Try working for your people and put their needs in front of your greed Senators

  14. I saw a shirt in Thialand that read…
    Man made pills…
    Let th sink In….

  15. By the way I suffer from RSD, stage 4 ,
    sevier osteoporosis, Lipocitic Colitis,
    I would rather smoke a plant that God gave us than the pills made by man…
    Pills made with who truly knows what…
    I VOTE GOD…..!!!!!

  16. I find it very disheartening that our representative in our state of tennessee are not hearing our voices. They are usually a day late and a dollar short. This industry will become legal in Tennessee the question is will we be on the forefront or lagging behind. If our elected officials vote against legalization of cannabis remember there names and take a mental note , because they voted there wishes Not the people that they are supposed to represent

    1. Yes I agree. I suffer from kidney disease, PTSD, nausea and chronic pain to name a few. I vote for medical Marijuana. Bill Lee is not doing his job he is not supporting his voters wishes therefore he is pushing his own agenda and not the peoples

  17. Get with the program, Tennessee! Marijuana is a Godsend! Opiates destroy and the government knows that and I think opiates are a form of population control. Stop killing Tennesseans!! Legalize weed.. we will all benefit ..what’s wrong with being happy, less anxious, no more pain, more focused and better overall? Contemplating on moving to Canada but I shouldn’t have to!

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