VOL. 133 | NO. 69 | Thursday, April 5, 2018
By Sam Stockard Updated 3:06PM
Legislation decriminalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee is effectively dead for the year after its Senate sponsor, Nashville Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson, withdrew the bill from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, April 3.
Dickerson, an anesthesiologist, had backed the original form of the bill, which called for the creation of a state commission to oversee the growing, manufacturing and dispensing of medical marijuana products.
But he told colleagues Tuesday that an amended version introduced by Rep. Jeremy Faison, the bill’s House sponsor, would hurt Tennesseans more than help them.
Faison, an East Tennessee Republican, modified the bill in March to decriminalize possession of medical marijuana without the creation of a state commission to run the operation. The abrupt amendment left onlookers flabbergasted but enabled Faison to push it further than medical marijuana has ever made it in the House of Representatives.
Under the amended form, Tennesseans could not be arrested for possession of some forms of medical marijuana, such as pills and lozenges, as long as they hold a doctor’s permission. The plant form would not be allowed, and they would have to travel to another state where medical marijuana is legal to receive physician approval.
Faison reacted on Twitter Tuesday, writing, “Sometimes you get to plant. Sometimes you get to water. Sometimes you get to harvest. I would love to be able to harvest but for right now, the TN Senate only wants planting and watering. Medical Cannabis is coming to Murica (America) regardless of the naysayers.”
After pulling the legislation, Dickerson promised he would introduce a bill next year that would allow for the growing, dispensing, regulation and taxation of cannabis.