Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Unanimously in Tennessee

Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Unanimously in Tennessee - Weed Finder™ NewsA unanimous vote Monday night means state lawmakers support the legalized, limited usage of medicinal cannabis oil.

For Stacie Mathes, that vote means her 1-year-old daughter, Josie, may finally find relief from the seizures that plague her.

“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,” Mathes said Monday evening.

The bill heads to the governor’s desk after lawmakers in the House and Senate approved the measure Monday evening. The Senate passed the bill by a unanimous 26-0 vote, while the House voted 95-0 a few minutes later.

The measure would allow someone diagnosed with intractable seizures or epilepsy to use cannabis oil that’s low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes marijuana a popular recreational drug.

Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Unanimously in Tennessee - Weed Finder™ News“Today we have the power to make a real change. These people are suffering, this medication works and is safe,” said Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville.

Last year Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill that allowed for an even more limited pool of people to participate in a study on the use of cannabis oil. Advocates — chiefly parents of children suffering from, in some cases, hundreds of seizures a day — pushed for a wider legalization of the oil.

This is not the medical marijuana bill offered by Republicans in the House and Senate. That bill would have allowed a wider array of people suffering from other conditions to use certain forms of marijuana that was grown, processed and distributed in Tennessee. Lawmakers voted to study the GOP medical marijuana bill over the summer, killing any chance of it passing this session.

Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, carried the cannabis oil bill in the House. He thanked his colleagues for passing the bill without any discussion, a sign he said showed their recognition for the need of the bill.

Mathes, Faison and a crowd of supporters celebrated the passage of the bill with hugs and tears. After testifying in committees, speaking with lawmakers and hoping, Sandy Bush of Knoxville is ready to push forward with the treatment for her 2-year-old son, Cameron.

“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 to know that now this is available for him,” said Bush, who’s son also suffers from seizures.

The cannabis oil bill requires a person have a “legal order or recommendation” for the use of the oil; federal prohibitions make it illegal for a doctor to prescribe any form of medical marijuana.

The bill doesn’t establish a framework for people to produce cannabis oil legally in Tennessee. Families with loved ones suffering from seizures say they can travel to states such as Colorado now and get the oil. Massey acknowledged people eligible for the oil would have to get it in another state.

Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Unanimously in Tennessee - Weed Finder™ NewsMathes and Bush said they already have companies in mind, and they plan to buy the oil as soon as it’s legally possible in Tennessee.

Sen. Randy McNally noted the federal Drug Enforcement Agency still considers marijuana a “schedule I” drug. That classification means the federal government doesn’t consider marijuana to have any medicinal benefit.

Massey notes there are “quality control” measures in states where the oil is legal to ensure the level of THC in the oil is legal in Tennessee. Sen. Bo Watson questioned how THC levels could be tracked without federal regulation.

There are certainly still questions about cannabis oil. But when families have tried everything without success, Bush said, there isn’t much to lose with a new treatment.

“We’ve definitely learned that with epilepsy, you can’t be 100 percent sure that anything is going to work,” Bush said.

“It’s another option, another chance. More hope.”

Haslam spokesman David Smith said the administration has deferred to the will of the General Assembly on the bill. If Haslam chooses to sign the bill it would take effect immediately.


(Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Passes Unanimously in Tennessee – Weed Finder™ News |  Article Credit: Reach Dave Boucher at 615-259-8892 and on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1)