A bill which is seeking to legalize medical marijuana has been introduced in Tennessee’s House of Representatives by legislators. The bill, called House Bill 637, would permit patients with one or more conditions on the list of qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana. It would also establish a regulatory framework for the production and distribution of medical marijuana products.
A Republican Rep. Ron Travis and a Democrat Rep. Jason Hodges introduced this year’s measure. Earlier this year, Republican Sen. Janice Bowling, reintroduced a similar bill in the Tennessee Senate.
Last year, Senator Bowling also introduced a similar bill during the legislative sessions, but the legislators opposed it.
HB 637 is also known as the Tennessee medical marijuana Act. It would allow patients with serious medical ailments to use medical marijuana. The patients would first have to obtain a physician’s approval (recommendation), or documentation showing that their diagnosis qualifies to be treated using medical marijuana.
The following are some of the medical conditions that could allow patients to have to access to medical marijuana:
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic radiculopathy
- Muscular Sclerosis, Opioid addiction
- Renal failure
- Severe nausea
- Chronic pain
- Persistent muscle spasm
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Severe psoriasis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Any medical condition producing cachexia
- Post-laminectomy syndrome
- Terminal illnesses
- End-of-life care management or palliative care
- Complex pain syndrome such as trigeminal neuralgia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- Parkinson’s disease
- For patients younger than 18 years, they can use medical marijuana if they have the following conditions, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and osteogenesis imperfecta.
The patients are required to obtain medical marijuana cards from the state to buy, possess, and use medicinal cannabis. Medical marijuana cards are active for two years with a single option of renewal after they expire.
Under HB 637, the state would establish a commission referred to as the Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be responsible for regulating the cultivation, manufacturing, and sale of medical marijuana products. The state would also create a medical marijuana fund that would finance the administration of the program.
Forty-five percent of the tax proceeds from the retail sale of medical marijuana products would be assigned to the medical marijuana fund to cover all regulatory expenses; 20 % would be assigned to the Department of Economic Community Development for rural and community development programs in Tennessee. A quarter of the tax proceeds (25%) would be allotted to the Department of Agriculture in the state to fund programs and grants from the agency. And the last 10% would be used to finance drug enforcement operations carried out by the Bureau of Investigation in the state against opioid and methamphetamine.
If the bill is approved, Tennessee would be the 34th state to legalize medical marijuana. Last week on Tuesday, the House Facilities, Licensure, and Regulations Committee approved a bill legalizing marijuana oils, lotions, and pills although, it banned smokable pot, vapes, and edibles. However, the following day, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee delayed deciding on the measure.
Experts think that numerous companies, such as HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF), may be hoping that the legislation is passed so that patients can have an additional treatment option to manage their health conditions.
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