Tennessee Medical Cannabis Bill Introduced

A Democratic lawmaker in Tennessee has filed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, has proposed House Bill 1385, which authorizes sales of marijuana to “severely debilitated people.”

While that makes it sound like the patient base will be small, it could actually be quite large. In addition to serious ailments like cancer, HIV/AIDS and glaucoma, people with severe chronic pain would qualify for the program. Patients in other MMJ states that allow chronic pain have qualified to buy marijuana for everything from migraines to backaches.

Tennessee allowed marijuana by prescription for a brief time in the 1980’s; however the law was eventually repealed. A recent attempt to revive that law failed in 2012.

Jones’ bill would require patients to be certified for marijuana consumption by a physician and then pay a $25 registration fee. The bill was drafted by Bernie Ellis, a longtime marijuana advocate who was previously convicted for distributing medical marijuana.

The bill faces long odds. No state in the South has legalized medical marijuana yet, and many lawmakers remain against the idea.

Tennessee has one of the strictest marijuana possession laws in the U.S. The cultivation of 10 plants or less is a felony offense that is punishable by 1-6 years in prison.