Tennessee, a hard red and deeply conservative state, is currently taking a long look at marijuana prohibition, as the state’s legislature is considering an array of bills that could weaken bans on marijuana. According to The Tennessean, one such bill just advanced past its first legislative obstacle. HB 0197, a bill introduced by Republican House Rep. Jeremy Faison, would legalize the medical use of cannabis oil in the treatment of patients suffering from serious seizure disorders. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee approved the bill last Tuesday, meaning it now moves on to the House Criminal Committee. The above-embedded footage by WSMV, published approximately two weeks before the committee would ultimately approve the bill, shows some of the individuals who testified at the hearings leading up to the bill’s advancement.
The committee tweaked the proposal’s language, adding a requirement that cannabis oil patients obtain a doctor’s note. Medical cannabis oil extracts lack the THC content that provides the euphoric feeling associated with marijuana.
Committee Chairman William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) offered his support for the bill during the hearing. Tennessee Republicans, who are promoting the legislation, control the legislature, giving it a fair chance of passing in a state that legalized hemp last year.
Cannabis oil legalization became a political issue in the state after Tennessee families with children suffering from seizure disorders, some of which resulting in thousands of seizures per day, began to plan moves out of state in an effort to seek treatment for their children. FOX-13 notes that Memphis three-year-old Chloe Grauer tragically passed away from a severe seizure late last year while waiting for a cannabis oil legalization bill to pass in Tennessee. According to The Leaf Chronice, Chloe Grauer’s grandmother Gail Grauer was present at the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee hearing in honor of her granddaughter.
In addition to the cannabis oil bill, the Tennessee House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will consider a bill, sponsored by Rep. Harold Love (D-Nashville), that would decriminalize the possession and casual exchange of less than a half ounce of marijuana and adjust penalties for possession and casual exchange of up to one ounce to a $100 fine without jail time. Another bill sponsored by Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) would redefine the state’s definition of drug paraphernalia to exclude products used to consume marijuana.
The Leaf Chronicle notes that recent Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University polls demonstrated that 3 in 4 Tennesseans support some degree of marijuana legalization.
Tennessee NORML president Doak Patton said, “I was there yesterday when the [cannabis oil] bill passed the subcommittee… The whole room was filled with mothers, fathers, grandparents and sick kids. It was fairly amazing to see… Last year, I knew almost all of these people by name. Now there are so many, I can’t keep count.”
In September of last year, Ben Swann released an expose, seen below, on the federal government’s mixed messages on cannabis oil.