Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls In Committee, More Speakers Next Week

Posted at 8:00 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 21:40:39-04

A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee was pushed back one week because the committee it was in ran out of time during debate.

Only one testimony was heard Wednesday before the 15-minute debate was called to a close in the middle of Representative Antonio Parkinson's questioning of Department of Health experts.

The DOH has been outspoken opponents of the issue since a summer medical marijuana task force was created to decide the best way to pursue providing medical marijuana to patients in Tennessee.

DOH officials stated the link between medical marijuana and the treatment or remedy of certain medical conditions is unclear. Also, the link between states with medical marijuana and a decreased opioid mortality rate is supported by weak data.

A representative from the DOH used this analogy for the connection.

"The relationship between ice cream consumption and drowning," he said. "If you look at that ice cream consumption goes up, drowning goes up. Nobody would say ice cream consumption causes drowning. Both of those are associated with another common factor, warm weather and the time when people go out to water."

One of the leaders of the medical marijuana task force was Representative Jeremy Faison, who is also the main sponsor of HB 1749. After the meeting, he had sharp words for opponents of the bill.

"You gotta be a special kind of stupid to not realize this helps Parkinson's," Faison said. "This whole notion that this is a schedule one drug, you are a special kind of ignorant human being if you think this is still a schedule one drug. That means there's no value to human life. Holy smokes. Why don't you tell that to all of the people who are illegally alive today that this plant has no value to them."

The bill was rolled to March 28 and will be first on the agenda. There were a number of speakers who were skipped Wednesday, the speaker of the criminal justice committee said he hopes the committee can vote then.