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Senator hopes lawmakers will team up for pro-medical cannabis push

Posted at 7:22 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 20:24:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee state legislature is taking on medical cannabis once again in 2019, but the discussion on the bill still hasn't happened.

For years, lawmakers have debated bills in crowded rooms, trying to pass bills that would allow medical cannabis to be available in the state. Each time, the bill eventually hit a road block that ended its path.

This year, with multiple lawmakers sponsoring very different cannabis bills, the five-time sponsor of medical cannabis legislation is trying to unify the group under one plan.

Senator Steve Dickerson said he hopes to bring in lawmakers to craft a bill that everyone can get behind.

"If we're putting odds on it, probably a flip of the coin on whether or not it works, but we're moving forward," said Dickerson.

Senator Janice Bowling announced a plan to legalize medical cannabis earlier in 2019.

That plan would allow whole cannabis plants to be sold and used by patients in Tennessee. In previous years, medical cannabis bills have failed with far more restrictions on what types of medical cannabis would be available.

Dickerson said there's been progress towards his goal in recent years.

"This has been a real sea change in Tennessee," he said. "When I first sponsored this bill five years ago, I was virtually the only republican to support it. Now, we're within a vote of getting it out of some major committees in the senate and some subcommittees in the house."

Dickerson's new bill will appear before the Senate Health Committee Wednesday afternoon. He said it's his best bill so far.