Medical marijuana use in Tennessee will have to wait at least another year.
State Senator Steven Dickerson has killed his Medical Cannabis Act, saying he lacked the votes to move forward.
Last week, a house committee approved an amended version of the bill.
It makes it legal for people with certain illnesses to use medical cannabis with a doctor’s note.
“(Tennesseans) know that there’s hope in this plant,” Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) said.
But that hope won’t arrive this year for Tennessee patients.
Senate sponsor Steven Dickerson says he didn’t think there were enough votes to pass it, so he pulled the Medical Cannabis Act.
Faison, who sponsored the bill on the house side, says the votes would’ve been there, if senators could see it from his perspective.
“There is an abundance of evidence-based medicine that this plant offers a safe, healthy alternative to what modern medicine, or conventional medicine, has failed,” Faison said.
There’s also evidence that medical cannabis could cut into the opioid epidemic.
One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says after states introduce medical cannabis laws, Medicare Part D prescriptions for opioids have fallen by 2.21 million daily doses filled per year from 2010 to 2015.
A similar study says both medical and recreational cannabis laws helped reduce opioid prescribing rates by nearly six percent in 2011 and in 2016.
U.S. Congressman Phil Roe wants more information.
“What we need to do is study this drug exactly like we do any other drug, and there may be benefits to using it, and if there are, then we should,” Roe said.
He was in Sevierville Wednesday to meet with law enforcement and government officials about fighting the opioid crisis.
“I chair the Veteran’s Affairs committee in Washington in the house, and I’ve encouraged