Republican senator proposing medical marijuana bill this legislative session

Steve Dickerson (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tuesday marks the beginning of a new legislative session on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill and one of the most anticipated bills this session will call for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Senator Steven Dickerson, R-Nashville, who is a practicing physician, will sponsor the bill. He believes the chances of it passing are good.

“We had some hearings two years ago and they voiced a lot of opposition to it,” Dickerson said. “So, we’ve built some of those concerns into our original thinking, but I’d say chances are at least 50-50 that it passes.”

Dickerson went on to say he believes the state is a little behind the leaders of the pack on the issue.

“There are 29 other states that already have some form of medical cannabis available,” he said. “Tennessee is not on the leadership on this. We’re sort of in the middle of the pack if we come on board now.”

Dickerson also said why he believes this is an important issue to discuss.

“There are several illnesses I think the data are very clear on,” he said. “Things like seizure disorders in children, nausea in patients that have cancer, some of the neuropathies and some of the more dread illnesses like HIV and PTSD have been shown to benefit from medical cannabis.”

The bill itself has not been introduced just yet. Sen. Dickerson says he is still gathering feedback about what to include in the proposed legislation.