Tennessee could become one of the next states to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program by way of the state legislature.
It was revealed last week that two Republican lawmakers, state Rep. Jeremy Faison and state Sen. Steve Dickerson, are planning to introduced a piece of legislation to be heard during the 2017 session aimed at legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. The details of the proposal are expected to be unveiled later this week.
Although there has been a significant amount of bipartisan support over the past couple of years for reforms related to the legalization of medical marijuana, it has not been enough to put the state on a progressive path to joining the 28 others that have turned this concept into a reality. So far, Tennessee’s brass has only been receptive to passing an ultra-restrictive CBD oil program that has so far only severed a select few seizure patients.
However, Faison recently set out on a fact-finding mission in Colorado because so many patients and their families were being forced to uproot their Tennessee homes and move to more marijuana-friendly ground. The scope of the state’s current medical marijuana law simply does not come with enough reach to truly benefit the majority of those patients living with some of the most debilitating health conditions.
Earlier this year, Faison told NBC affiliate WBIR that he has completely changed his tune with respect to marijuana and was in the midst of planning a push for a more comprehensive program in the upcoming session.
“I thought marijuana use was basically for potheads and over the last few years I have evolved, and this is what I’ve come to believe, this plant is really God’s hope,” Faison told WBIR. “Just because someone might pervert the use of this, doesn’t make me scared to give it to someone who could use it. I see the benefits greatly outweigh the negative.”
Unfortunately, the whole of the Tennessee legislature might not be as open-minded as Faison when it comes to concept of pot reform.
Last year, legislative forces could not even manage to get it together with respect to a modest decriminalization measure—a proposal seeking to replace some of the minor pot possession penalties with a small fine.
But now that 28 jurisdictions in the United States that have legalized the leaf for medicinal use, there is a distinct possibility that some the movement’s naysayers could be more receptive in 2017—especially if they have been listening to the voice of the people.
In November, a survey conducted by Vanderbilt University found that 75 percent of Tennessee’s citizens believe the state should put a more wide-ranging medical marijuana law on the books.
A press conference over latest proposal is scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville.
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