The Medical Cannabis Act has passed a House subcommittee with Speaker Beth Harwell casting the deciding vote.
It passed Tuesday with a vote of 4-3 in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
SB1710 or the “Medical Cannabis Act” would allow people with specific medical conditions to have access to cannabis oil. It would not allow recreational use of marijuana.
People with cancer, Parkinson’s disease and PTSD, among other conditions, would be able to obtain the cannabis oil. Sen. Steve Dickerson sponsored the bill.
He estimated 65,000 Tennesseans would benefit from the bill. He said the bill has been revised and improved through the years, and he felt this version has the best chance of passing.
"I think Tennesseans deserve it," said House Speaker Harwell. "Two-thirds of the nation now has access to medical marijuana. We are not talking about smoking joints. That would not be allowed under this piece of legislation at all. We're talking about oils and patches and things we know help people with seizures and other disorders."
Yet, not everyone agreed with it. During discussion before the vote, officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation opposed the bill. Also, Tennessee Sheriffs Association Executive Director Terry Ashe said he didn't think the bill would be federally legal.
"Law enforcement is standing with this position: as long as it's a schedule 1 drug, and the federal government moves off of it, we will have to enforce the law," said Ashe.
They said the state would see an uptick in people driving under the influence of marijuana if medical marijuana is legalized. TBI chemists also said they are seeing more food products with THC in them.
The bill will go before a full committee next.