TN, KY lawmakers introduce medical marijuana bills

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Neighboring southern states Tennessee and Kentucky have pending bills for their 2017 legislative sessions that would legalize medical marijuana.

Tennessee’s bill, introduced Wednesday by Rep. Jeremy Faison and Sen. Steve Dickerson, both Republicans, would allow medical cannabis to be recommended to patients with various conditions and would provide for up to 50 grow operations, The Tennessean reported.

Kentucky’s bill, titled the Cannabis Compassion Act, was pre-filed Dec. 6 by Democratic Sen. Perry B. Clark. It would legalize medical marijuana for patients and implement dispensaries, as well as a form of the caregiver model, according to the Tenth Amendment Center.

Tennessee lawmakers sponsored a similar bill in 2015 that died in committee. Kentucky politicians pushed bills in 2015 and 2016 that mirrored Clark’s, but those fizzled out as well.

Tennessee advocates are framing their push for medical marijuana as a response to an opioid crisis in the state.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, was recently tapped as spokesman for the newly formed Cannabis Caucus to reform federal marijuana laws. Massie is considered a key player in legalization in his home state.