Medical marijuana bill to be introduced by Tennessee lawmakers this year


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    Tennessee Republican lawmakers will introduce a medical marijuana bill during this year's General Assembly.

    State Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) and Rep. Ron Travis (R-Dayton) announced Thursday they will lead the bill. The bill is currently going through the legal process.

    According to a news release from the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Trade Association, the proposed bill would make medical cannabis available to those with a medical card who are diagnosed with specific conditions.

    The medical marijuana would have to be bought from a Tennessee-licensed entity and owned by Tennessee to cultivate and distribute.

    “I have been in the fight against opioids and pill mills. Opioids have become a tragedy for Tennesseans,” Bowling said. “Our constituents can use a natural and effective option for pain relief that is not controlled or pushed by Big Pharma. When I see medical studies showing that states with medical cannabis programs had an average 23 percent drop in opioid prescription use and overdoses, I see a real option we can use.”

    A similar bill was shot down last year.

    “I wanted a new bill that is Tennessee-specific and takes the best of what worked in other states and leaves out what did not. This bill delivers what I wanted,” Bowling added. “The legislature has not yet had that kind of bill to consider. The Bowling-Travis bill creates a fully functioning framework to license growing, producing and dispensing operations.”

    Legalization is under way in several other states, including Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi.

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