Thousands of marijuana refugees have fled their hometowns for states with legal medical marijuana, and one politician from Tennessee is on a mission to bring them back.
In November, Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) told The Marijuana Times, “I want to bring a full medical marijuana, and since we don’t have state ballot initiatives, I’ll take it straight through the general assembly.”
He’s delivering on that promise with the recent introduction of that medical marijuana bill in the Volunteer State.
No path for adult-use
In an interview with The Marijuana Times at the MJforMD’s medical conference, Faison stood up to all his naysayers, discouraging people who perpetuate the myth that he’s trying to introduce a gateway drug to a state already so badly crippled by the opiate epidemic. “I think science and history will prove that alcohol is a gateway,” he said.
That said, he’s a medical guy and absolutely does not agree with recreational use of the drug.
The conservative, NRA endorsed, follower of The Bible isn’t on board with the recreational market, to say the least. Faison told the Tennessean, that his three-day trip to Colorado led him to believe that state will soon consider repealing its recreational use laws.
Opioid epidemic in Tennessee
There are more opioid prescriptions than there are people in Tennessee.
It places Tennessee second in the nation, behind only Alabama in prescriptions of the drugs, according to IMS Health data.
As the American Journal of Public Health reports, cannabis can be a savior for those hooked on opioids. A recent study by the journal reveals fewer people use opioids in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
The measure includes a list of qualifying conditions, including cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures and Alzheimer’s. Most medical advocates are not in favor of qualifying conditions; however, they will be pleased to hear that the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission would be able to add conditions based on doctors’ findings.
In a prior interview, Faison also said he would do his best to make sure that grows and manufacturing would be in distressed counties, to bring employment to those areas.
- This bill allows for 50 grow operations statewide, the first 15 of which would be in such areas of the state.
- Patients would need to spend $35 on a medical card, and medical practitioners able to prescribe medication would have to get a special license to prescribe medical cannabis.
- Each cultivation center would have one dispensary at the grow house and two storefronts, so 150 dispensaries throughout the state.
Faison, along with Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville), are standing up for the federally illegal medicine in their Republican-dominated legislature. For them, it’s a states’ rights issue and they want the right for their state to choose medical marijuana.
“At its heart, I really do think this is a very Republican, conservative bill,” Dickerson said. “I know that’s a little counterintuitive, but it gets the government out of our lives,” said State Sen. Dickerson.
“We would be the tipping point of medical marijuana in the South,” added Faison.