Advocates Sobered By Medical Marijuana Bill Language

TENNESSEE:  They didn’t have to pass it to find out what’s in it, but some advocates of medical marijuana were wondering if passing the Republican version was worth the wait after the legislation made it to the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives on Tuesday.

In some ways, the bill – HB1284 in the House and SB1248 in the Senate – breaks new ground for conservative lawmakers in the state in terms of what medical conditions warranted medical marijuana (MMJ) treatment, what parts of the marijuana plant were considered usable and in the types of acceptable drug delivery methods, like vaporization.

But MMJ advocates like Bernie Ellis, a respected epidemiologist and Tennessee farmer, hoped to see something that would benefit both patients and growers in the state. Instead, he quickly identified several stipulations that amount to a “poison pill” that would severely restrict access, or make access punitive, while allowing only the wealthy to take part in the benefits of growing, manufacture and sales.