On Monday, a bill that would legalize the use of low-THC cannabis oil in the treatment of severe seizure disorders and epilepsy passed unanimously through both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly. The bill’s Senate sponsor, State Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) said, according to The Tennessean, “Today we have the power to make a real change. These people are suffering, this medication works and is safe.” The proposal is headed to Governor Haslam’s desk, where, if he chooses to sign it, it would become law.
A significant number of Tennessee families with children suffering from seizure disorders had begun to leave the state for Colorado over the past few years in an effort to obtain treatment with cannabis oil. One-year-old Josie Mathes’ mother Stacie fought tirelessly for her daughter’s right to seek treatment and said, “It was our hope and dream that it would [be approved], and then for it to actually happen, it’s life changing. It’s lifesaving. I think that’s the most important part of all of this. I’m speechless.”
Knoxville resident Sandy Bush, who hopes to treat her two-year-old son Cameron with cannabis oil, said of the bill’s passage, “You’re already dealing with taking care of a child that requires a lot more effort, and then to have to work so hard to get something that you really feel like could help them, it’s just a big relief…” Tragically, a three-year-old Memphis girl named Chloe Grauer passed away from a severe seizure last year while waiting for a cannabis oil legalization bill to pass.
State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), who sponsored the bill in the House, told WATE-TV, “Tonight we proved that you can appeal to your legislator and move heaven and earth and we did that tonight, it gives me hope in the legislative process.”
Though it is not yet known whether Governor Haslam intends to sign the bill, he supported last year’s proposal for a study on the use of cannabis oil for seizure disorders, and a spokesman from his administration said that he would defer to the will of the legislature on the issue.
The bill would require those seeking treatment to obtain a legal order of recommendation in order to use cannabis oil and falls short of creating a legal marketplace in Tennessee. Tennesseans would consequently be required to obtain cannabis oil from states that do have a legal marketplace such as Colorado.
In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode dealing with the government’s mixed messages on medical cannabis. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.