Tennessee lawmakers push for legalization of medical marijuana

Recent Gallup survey showed 68% of people are in favor of legalizing cannabis
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 10:36 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Some Tennessee lawmakers said this is the year the state needs to legalize medical marijuana. Democratic Rep. Jason Powell presented a resolution to the General Assembly to give the voters the final say.

Rep. Powell said, “We’ve seen a record number of cannabis’ legislation.”

If approved, voters would get the final say on medical marijuana which could change the state’s constitution.

“It’s time for Tennesseans especially those who are suffering and would benefit from medical cannabis,” Rep. Powell said.

His proposal would allow the growth, process and sale of medical cannabis. Only people with approved medical conditions including cancer, epilepsy and MS could use it.

This resolution would need 2/3 approval in both the Tennessee House and Senate to go to the November ballot.

Rep. Powell said, “I think it’s extremely popular and if it’s on the ballot it will pass.”

Some Republican East Tennessee lawmakers are split on the matter. For Sen. Becky Massey, the matter is personal for her.

“Watching my brother-in-law pass away from ALS, watching my sister die; when nothing else works, I don’t see how we can deny it to people,” Sen. Massey said.

Sen. Massey supported legislation for medical marijuana in years past.

Doctor and Sen. Richard Briggs, pointed to science. He said because medical marijuana is not approved by the FDA, he couldn’t approve it either.

“Marijuana is a plant and not a medicine and I just don’t like unregulated things being prescribed by people with no medical training,” Sen. Briggs said.

Rep. Powell has proposed a 4% tax in his legislation. A portion would go to veteran health care.

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