Cannabis recommendation would have patients seeking treatment out of state

Marijuana Docs
Posted at 6:50 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 12:25:32-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A state-commissioned medical cannabis taskforce recommendation would have patients travel outside of Tennessee for treatment.

The commission submitted its recommendation to the state legislature earlier this month. While the state already has a low-level THC medical cannabis program, the group was tasked with finding a way to help patients find ways to obtain stronger versions of the medication.

The conditions allowed under the recommendation include the same ones from the previous expanded program. However, participants could only get cannabis from six other states. They are Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Utah. The patient or caregiver would have to have an ID card through Tennessee and could only buy certain forms of THC that don't include any part of the cannabis plant.

Holly Ramsey is a legalization advocate through the necessity of getting treatment for her epileptic son, TJ Ramsey. They've tried numerous drugs through the years to control his seizures including prescription medication. Not much worked until they found CBD oil was effective. However, TJ seemed to get used to the oil's effects.

They've also had some success with the state's low-level THC program. However, she'd like to find something more effective and have the freedom to try other products.

"This is a last resort for us," said Ramsey. "It's patients with Parkinson's it's patients with Alzheimer's, it's muscular sclerosis, end-stage cancer. The sickest of the sickest are who really want this medication."

Ramsey was one of the speakers during the commission's meetings through the fall of 2021. She hoped the commission would recommend a program inside of Tennessee. She said she appreciates the commission's work, but the recommendation would require a lot of work to access other states' medical cannabis programs.

"There are two states [that allow] access to their programs and Arkansas is one of them," she said. "You pay their fee and then you have to wait 14 days for the application to be approved and then you can go get about two weeks of medication. That guest pass lasts about two months and then you have to renew your guest pass."

Lawmakers don't have to follow the recommendations of the commission. Several have already indicated they would file bills in the 2022 session. One of them is Rep. Bryan Terry, a Murfreesboro Republican and doctor. He said he would consider the recommendation but has additional questions.

The commission's next meeting is on January 28.