Medical marijuana in Tennessee got a boost today. The House Government Operations Committee reviewed legislation that would legalize marijuana for medicinal uses (see links below). The Committee essentially has three options when they review it; give a ‘negative’ rating and essentially kill the bill, give a ‘neutral’ rating to move the bill forward but without a full endorsement, or a ‘positive’ rating that would be seen as an endorsement. The House Government Operations Committee gave the legislation a ‘neutral’ rating. Although the victory is ‘luke-warm,’ it is a victory nonetheless.
Although Republicans tried to fight hard for a negative rating, Nashville Democrat Gary Odom successfully lobbied to prevent such action. The House Bill’s sponsor, Jeanne Richardson of Memphis, stated “It is a compassionate bill, it is a fair bill. We structured it very tightly so that there won’t be the abuses that have occurred in states like California. I believe those political figures who do not understand that there is such an overwhelming support for medical cannabis are not in touch at all with what the public thinks, and I believe they need to rethink their position.” The next step is having the bills reviewed by the joint Public Health Subcommittee, which is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 24.