NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee state Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) is reintroducing a bill that would allow for the use of medical marijuana.
If passed, the bill would create a framework to allow qualified patients to access medical cannabis on a regular basis, as well as regulate the process of licensing growers to cultivate, produce, distribute, transport, sell and acquire marijuana for medical use and scientific research.
“There are tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans that could benefit from medical cannabis,” said Sen. Bowling.
At one time she was against the idea, but after research, she says she believes it will also help in the fight against opioid abuse.
“This is desperately needed in Tennessee, it is desperately needed by the patient, and doctors need an alternative from opioids,” said Bowling.
While some are in support of the idea, TBI Director David Rausch has brought up concerns.
“If it is truly for medical purposes then go through the proper way of getting a drug approved to be medicine and that is through the FDA,” said Rausch. “And if they go through that process and the FDA approves it as medicine we are out of the way.”
A special meeting hosted by Senator Janice Bowling will be held on Thursday, January 9, 2020, for law enforcement leadership to review and discuss medical cannabis legislation.
Bowling sponsored legislation in the TennesseeGeneral Assembly last year which was used in the formation of a new law adopted in Alabama on the matter.
That new law established the Alabama Medical Cannabis Study Commission which recently proposed recommendations for a new state agency to regulate medical cannabis in Alabama.
“I was totally against it myself when it was brought up in Tennessee two years ago,” said Bowling. “This is desperately needed in Tennessee, It is desperately needed by patients, and doctors need an alternative from opioids, opioids, opioids.”
Over the years views have changed when it comes to medicinal marijuana. An MTSU poll from 2018 showed 81 percent of Tennesseans supported the idea, but not everyone shares the same views.
“There is no need in Tennessee to create a new form of medicine overseen and regulated by agriculture,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “I think all of us in Tennessee want farmers farming, we want doctors practicing medicine and we want lawmakers making people safe and this would negatively impact that.”