Parents, veterans push for medical marijuana in Tennessee

In a room full of lawmakers and lobbyists, a little boy named Cameron made the biggest impact of all. He suffers from epilepsy.

"He's very delayed developmentally,” said his mother Sandy Bush. "We don't know if he'll be able to live on his own, if he'll talk, if he'll ever have a family of his own.”

Bush believes medicine derived from the cannabis plant can help.

"It's really just about getting him to the best quality of life that's possible for him,” Bush said.

On Tuesday, she and dozens of others went to the state capitol to urge lawmakers to make cannabis medications available in Tennessee.

Marine corps veteran Roberto Pickering of California said medical marijuana has been more effective than the 10 prescription pills he used to take for PTSD.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said 22 veterans take their own lives every day, and Pickering said giving veterans access to medical marijuana could change that.

"It's the right thing to do for veterans,” Pickering said. “Providing options other than prescription pills or opioids.”

State lawmakers have voted down similar proposals in the past.

"Introducing a drug that is overused and abused by so many people, I just don't think that's a good idea,” said Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) about the 2013 bill.

"We've been given passionate cries for years about how the plant brings an enormous amount of negativity to society,” said Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby).

Faison is sponsoring the 2016 bill and said what makes this year different is the research is starting to show, the benefits outweigh the cost...especially for veterans...and kids like Cameron.

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