On Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill into law legalizing the use of low-THC cannabis oil to treat specific medical conditions including severe seizure disorders and epilepsy. The bill, SB 0280, unanimously passed through the Tennessee legislature last month. The new law requires patients to seek a doctor’s approval and obtain the medication from out of state, as it does not create a legal cannabis oil production marketplace in Tennessee.
Public outcry led to the bill’s passage, as Tennessee families with children suffering from seizure disorders recently began to move out of state in an effort to seek treatment in states where cannabis oil is legal. A three-year-old Memphis girl named Chloe Grauer passed away last year during a severe seizure while waiting for a cannabis oil legalization bill to pass, further intensifying the sense of urgency behind the health initiative.
The Tennessean spoke to the Mathes family who obtained a doctor’s permission and cannabis oil medication as soon as the bill became law in an effort to treat their one-year-old daughter Josie’s severe seizures. Said Josie’s mother Stacie Mathes, “We’re very, very happy that we can get started and see some improvements and get the nasty medicines behind us… As parents, you want some miracles. And you know in some cases it will stop seizures pretty quick. We’re hopeful that we can get them under control… We’re happy with that.”
WSMV-TV notes that Governor Haslam originally opposed the law, but changed his position after a discussion with the state attorney.
Tennessee lawmakers are set to discuss a broader medical marijuana bill this summer, after a Republican medical marijuana legalization proposal introduced by State Senator Dr. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and State Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) gained unexpected traction earlier this year. Paul Kuhn, chairman of Tennesseans United, a nonprofit promoting medical marijuana legalization, told The Tennessean, “The cannabis oil bill the governor signed into law is a step in the right direction and an acknowledgment by our state leaders that marijuana has therapeutic properties. We hope this momentum carries over into the summer when lawmakers will work on proposed legislation to benefit Tennesseans suffering from a wider range of conditions.”
In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical cannabis and cannabis oil. Watch it in the embedded player, found below.