New version of Tennessee Medical Cannabis bill passes Criminal Justice Committee

Rep. Bill Lamberth. (WZTV)


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - The Medical Cannabis Only Act went before the Criminal Justice Committee again Wednesday, passing in it's new form.

SB 1710 and HB 1749 will allow access to cannabidiol oil to Tennesseans with certain medical conditions. However, the bill was amended to focus on decriminalization instead of access.

Under its current form, the bill will decriminalize possession of cannabidiol as long as the individual possesses a valid prescription from a doctor or a medical marijuana card from another state.

Several medical marijuana advocates and those opposed to the bill gave testimony Wednesday.

Andrea Houser, a Lawrenceburg mother of two who suffers seizures from epilepsy, said the THC in cannabis oil is imperative to her health. Houser said when she had her first seizure, she went to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and didn't wake up for three days. Following that, she's developed 19 kidney stones from side effects due to medicine.

House spoke frankly in front of lawmakers and said she had gotten marijuana illegally to help with her pain -- but has since stopped.

"Because of cannabis, I felt normal again," House said. "I stopped because I didn’t want to break the law - but my seizures came back."

Houser said the seizures traumatize her children; one refers to her episodes as the "seizure monster."

"It's not fun when you’re having a seizure, biting your tongue and choking on blood in front of your kids," Houser said.

The mother says she doesn't want to move away from Tennessee but is in need of this bill being passed.

“I would rather be illegally alive than legally dead,” Houser said.

The bill will now move on to the House Health Committee.

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