Tennessee State Senator Steve Dickerson, a physycian, and State Representative Jeremy Faison, both Republicans, introduced their plan to legalize medical cannabis today at a press conference.
Under the proposed law, the possession and use of cannabis and cannabis products would be legal for those who receive a recommendation from a physician. Qualifying medical conditions include ALS, HIV/AIDS, seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease; additional conditions can be added on the recommendation of the Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
The measure would allow for 50 licensed cannabis cultivation centers; each would be allowed to operate an on-site dispensary, as well as two additional dispensaries. This would set the statewide limit at 150.
Physicians wanting to recommend medical cannabis would need to receive a special license to do so; patients would need to purchase a $35 card once they receive a recommendation to become an officially registered patient.
According to Dickerson, legalizing medical cannabis may help with the state’s opioid crisis; “I think there are significant anecdotes and some data that substantiate the proposition that medical cannabis will have a decrease on the consumption of opiates”, he said.
Dickerson also made the argument to his fellow Republicans that they should support this bill; “At its heart, I really do think this is a very Republican, conservative bill,” Dickerson said. “I know that’s a little counter-intuitive, but it gets the government out of our lives.”
The proposal will be discussed next month when the Tennessee Legislature reconvenes.