Tennessee House Speaker Helps Break Tie on Medical Cannabis Bill

Tennessee House Speaker Helps Break Tie on Medical Cannabis Bill

Flickr / Brent Moore / CC BY-NC 2.0

Efforts to legalize medical cannabis in Tennessee have gotten some unexpected support from state House Speaker Beth Harwell. On Feb. 27, 2018, Harwell voted to break a tie in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee in favor of HB 1749 / SB 1710, also known as the Medical Cannabis Act.

Under the proposed measure, medical cannabis would be legalalized for patients suffering from one of more than a dozen debilitating medical conditions, including Cancer, PTSD and chronic pain.

The measure would also establish a 5% state and a 2% local sales tax on medical cannabis and would create the Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be responsible for devising rules and regulations for the program.

According to The Tennessean, Harwell, who is also running for governor, said that she became open to medical cannabis after seeing how it helped her sister, who lives in Colorado, recover from a back injury.

“I believe it is time for us to take action on the state level with regards to medical marijuana,” Harwell said. “I am in favor of this legislation, which does not allow for the smoking of medical marijuana — I am not in favor of that approach.”

The measure has yet to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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