NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Medical marijuana supporters hope to light up more support on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill.
During a Tuesday morning rally in the light drizzle at Legislative Plaza, a half-dozen people held signs saying “Green Cross Tennessee.”
It’s a group advocating and promoting cannabis awareness in the state.
In a recent Facebook post, the group said, “Cannabis is not for everyone…There are many different strains. Legalization means finding the right strain that works for individual needs.”
Those words echoed to some degree early Tuesday afternoon in a legislative hearing of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
It focused on what will become a new version of Senate Bill 1248 sponsored by Nashville physician and state Senator Steve Dickerson.
“I am not the stereotype that has been created. There are millions of us out there,” said retired Nashville financial adviser Paul Kuhn just prior to the hearing. “I am a long time supporter of marijuana law reform. I have seen it help patients like my late wife when legal medications failed completely.
Kuhn’s name was attached to a failed bill in past years, but he was back Tuesday with many other medical marijuana advocates on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill for a hearing on the Senate bill that will be introduced next session.
The measure ts expected to allow limited now-smoking use such as cannabis oil or gel tabs for a few conditions such as cancer, MS or epilepsy.
“Nine months ago, I stood in front of you and told you authoritatively there is clinical benefit,” said senator and physician Dickerson. “There are patients who have illnesses and diseases in our state who are being under-treated.”
Dickerson sponsored a similar limited non-smoking cannabis bill last year, but he won’t find support support from Tennessee law enforcement.
“The whole concept of medical marijuana from a legal perspective is being abused and a there number of issues with the card that folks are issued,” said Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes in a reference to the states that have some sort of medical marijuana use.
Top state health department officials told the hearing they remain cautious citing such things as studies showing marijuana dependence higher than previously thought leading to more workplace or motor vehicle accidents for users.
The hearing Tuesday dealt with only the one bill concerning medical marijuana. At least one other more expansive bills on cannabis are expected this legislative session.