Tennessee legislators file four medical cannabis legalization bills

tennessee capitol hill
Posted at 5:55 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-05 10:49:50-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The effort to legalize medical cannabis has begun again at Tennessee's state capitol.

Four bills were filed by both Republicans and Democrats to further legalize medical cannabis past the 0.9% THC patients can now possess.

Two bills fully legalize medical cannabis and include components for growth, cultivation and sale of the plant.

The third is a resolution filed by Nashville Democrat Rep. Jason Powell. It would put the issue of legalization to a vote. Polls show widespread support for medical cannabis legalization.

"What we already have is not working. It's not true medical cannabis," Rep. Powell said. "Let's ultimately put this in front of the voters of Tennessee and let them decide."

Powell is also signed onto the fourth bill, brought by Murfreesboro Republican and doctor Rep. Bryan Terry.

Terry's bill uses the Medical Cannabis Commission's recommendation to the legislature. His bill would allow Tennessee patients with certain conditions to travel to other states for their medical cannabis. It allows for patients to obtain THC medication with THC higher than 0.9%.

Rep. Terry has sponsored other bills in the past to fully legalize medical cannabis. Though, those bills have failed or been altered.

"I'm just trying to do whatever I can do to help these patients. If this is what it takes to get them relief, that's what I'm going to do," Terry said.

There are some concerns with that plan, though. Current Tennessee residents seeking treatment have stressed traveling to other states puts a burden on their families when they're just trying to manage serious illnesses.

The bills will have to make it through committees and will be subject to scrutiny from lawmakers who have voted against similar legislation in the past.

"I think the discussion needs to be had. I think you see other people out there, Republican and Democrat bringing these types of legislation. It's something that the people want," Terry said.