Lawmakers in Tennessee advanced medical marijuana legislation through a committee.
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee moved Senate Bill 0667 this past week on a vote of 5 to 3 in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in the state.
State Sen. Katrina Robinson, D-Memphis, is one of the bill’s primary co-sponsors. Robinson said that Senate Bill 0667 is now a step closer to passing through the upper house, as is the case for companion legislation in the State House of Representatives.
Under the bill, Tennesseans with a debilitating disease and a doctor’s endorsement can access a personal supply of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana, like in most states, must be then obtained from a licensed medical dispensary, and it must remain in its original packaging and can’t be used in a mode intended for smoking or vaping.
The bill, unfortunately, would still require those seeking medical marijuana to travel out of state to get it. This is due to the fact that the bill doesn’t authorize marijuana farming or sales in the state of Tennessee. Provisions like these are required via separate proposals.
“Tennessee has fallen behind the nation on marijuana reform,” said Sen. Robinson via FOX 17 Nashville. “For the first time, the Judiciary Committee has said cancer patients and people who are sick should have access to marijuana.”
“This bill isn’t perfect and it doesn’t go far enough to correct past injustices, but it’s a step forward at a time we desperately need progress.”
According to the General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee, Senate Bill 0667 is expected to have no significant financial impact on the state’s general fund and that the executive branch would have to define the costs and additional provisions if the bill passes both houses and is signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee.
The long-term effort to legalize marijuana in Tennessee is still a major undertaking. Hopefully, Tennessee will eventually move to legalize marijuana through legislation, or a statewide ballot initiative voted on during a general election in November.