Marijuana plant(Photo: Ed Andrieski, AP)
House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, indicated a new GOP push to legalize marijuana for limited medical usage is headed in the right direction, but lawmakers probably won’t vote on the measure this year.
“I believe that that bill will … need additional study because the commissioner of public health would like to have some input on that as well, so we’re still in the process of finalizing that,” Harwell told reporters Thursday.
Related: GOP TN senator to propose medical marijuana bill
The bill is one of two that seeks to legalize medical marijuana in some cases that is sponsored by Republicans. A bill from Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, allows people suffering from severe seizures to use cannabis oil in certain circumstances.
More: Cannabis oil proposal draws praise and criticism in TN
Although that measure has met little opposition in the House or Senate, it is narrow in scope. Recently, Nashville Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson and Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, announced they were changing a bill to create a system to allow for the growing, processing, distribution, regulation and consumption of some marijuana products for certain medical reasons.
“I think Representative Ryan Williams has done an outstanding job with the bill that he has, which is well thought-out, very limited to certain instances and limited in the fact that it is a patch, or an oil, or an inhalation,” Harwell said.
“He’s been very, very cautious that we’re not doing anything other than just providing this for those people who would desperately need this as an alternative.”
As Harwell noted, the bill would allow some patients to use a cannabinoid-based product that comes in the form of an oil, a patch or an inhaler; the oil could be added to food products as well.
Only people with certain “debilitating medical conditions” could use the medical marijuana after registering with the state. The conditions include stage 2 through stage 4 cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, intractable seizures, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, some cases of spinal cord damage, and in cases of improving quality of life for people with terminal conditions.
In an interview Thursday, Dickerson said he acknowledged there were still some issues to work out with the bill. He said he planned to try and move forward with the legislation this year but readily admits it’s a complicated issue that could take more time.
“I knew when …Read More