Medicinal Marijuana Legislation Moves in Tennessee
Legalizing marijuana for medicinal use moved a step closer to reality after a Tennessee state representative introduced a bill in the state legislature.
Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) said her bill would establish regulations for people who are prescribed the drug by doctors. A key hitch in the law will be that a doctor must state that the benefits of using marijuana treatment outshines the potential risk. If the law is passed, Tennessee will become the 21st state in the Union to okay marijuana for medical use.
Jones said that her reason for introducing the legislation is to give people, who are suffering from maladies that respond to marijuana treatment, a better life quality. The bill, named the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, would legalize marijuana use for patients suffering from glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Alzheimers and cancer.
Medical marijuana proponents allege that the drug reduces stress and enhances appetite. It’s also an alternative to more expensive drugs. The bill is quite expansive, allowing medical marijuana use for any medical condition, provided that the state health department approves and a medical doctor signs off on the treatment.
The use of marijuana would be forbidden in public places like schools and around children. Patients can only have on hand a one month supply.
It should be noted that although patients could not be arrested by state authorities for medical marijuana use, the federal government still views possession of marijuana as a criminal offense.
A poll by Middle Tennessee State University shows that 36 percent of Tennesseans support medical marijuana use. Nearly 20 percent of respondents oppose it. The legalization of marijuana use in general is opposed by 57 percent. Forty percent of Evangelicals approve medical marijuana use. The poll was taken last January of 600 people. The poll has a margin of error of four percent.
A number of people risk arrest and imprisonment by self-medicating themselves with marijuana. A story on Channel 5 News related how one man turned to marijuana use because the prescribed narcotics were making him ill. Others have moved from Tennessee to other states where medical marijuana is legal.