A new proposal for permission for medical marijuana in Tennessee takes shape. And its sponsors make a case that lawmakers have to go further than they have considered going before.
This proposal (download the draft SB 486 / HB 637 here) sponsored by Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma and Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, would allow doctors to prescribe full use of the cannabis plant in Tennessee, including the bud typically needed for smoking.
Bowling says that her thinking has evolved since last year, as the leading idea would have banned smoking stand-marijuana.
More: Tennessee Lawmakers Suggest to allow medical cannabis as long as it does not smoke
"I do not want to create a bill still based on our prejudices based on our perceptions of 60's or anytime, "Bowling said at a press conference Wednesday. "I want a bill based on current best evidence and data."
While hard science is still mocked at marijuana, Bowling compares cannabis with high-powered opioids and suggests that the risk is significantly lower. The proposal will also cover the number of growers at two dozen originally ̵
But the proposal still faces rigid regulatory challenges. A Springfield lawyer who is a training surgeon appeared at the press conference claiming that the plant is far from benign.
"This is political marijuana in the sense that it is to satisfy the producers and not the patients," Rep. Sabi Kumar said and pointed out how many common conditions will be approved for cannabis treatment, including nausea and chronic pain. "This is recreational marijuana disguised as medical marijuana."
The speakers in Parliament and the Senate have also been skeptical of marijuana proposals, which also have Bill Bill. No one has committed to this legislation, and there are several other suggestions in the works, including one from two anesthetists.
But the marijuana industry supports Bowling's idea. The Tennessee Medical Cannabis Trade Association has already cast its support behind the bill. And at least one potential grower was eager to take a trip to the state's capital for Wednesday's announcement.
Born and raised on the Cumberland Plateau, Norman Christian of Sequatchie County.
"There has been active pot growing up there illegally for the last 40 or 50 years. Some of the best marijuana in the world come from that plateau," said Christian. "I'll grow it."