Topic: Study of Medical Marijuana Moves Forward In State House
Study of Medical Marijuana Moves Forward In State House
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, by Joe White
A bill to allow medical marijuana in Tennessee has gone further than ever before in the state legislature. Lawmakers are now signaling that they might be at least willing to study how it would work.
Originally, Representative JeanneRichardson proposed allowing marijuana to be available by prescription in Tennessee. That would have made Tennessee one of only a handful of states that allow the drug to be used medically.
To keep the proposal alive, Richardson changed it to require only a study of the issue, by the four state departments that would regulate such a prescription program.
“For instance, in the production, the growing of it, the Department of Agriculture would be involved, ….in terms of the security, who could do it, and who would be certified to do it.”
Richardson says the departments are not asked whether they would recommend the step, but instead how a medical marijuana program could be safely enacted, if a future legislature should make it legal.
The bill goes to the House Finance Committee as early as next week. It is the furthest such a bill has ever advanced in a Tennessee General Assembly. In the state Senate, the proposal hasn’t been discussed by a single committee. Unless the Senate passes the bill too, the study won’t take place.
If given final approval, the bill would go to the state Departments of Agriculture, and of Health, and the Boards of Medical Examiners, and of Pharmacy, for the closer look at how such a system could work.
The bill is HB2562 Richardson /*SB2511 Marrero. The bill hasn’t been argued in the Senate this year and is still in the Senate Government Operations Committee.
The amendment that calls for the departmental study, to be reported by Feb. 15, 2011, is here.
The federal government lists marijuana on a “schedule” that also includes such drugs as heroin, Richardson says. Because of that high level of restriction, not every drugstore would be expected to carry the drug even if it were legal in Tennessee, she says.
“The Board of Pharmacy of course would be involved in the distribution, or certifying places that could distribute.”