Senator Dickerson Withdraws Medical Marijuana Bill
Senator Steve Dickerson told Tennessee’s Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not have enough support for a bill that would have would have legalized medical cannabis.
"Instead of dragging this out interminably...I think the better decision at this point is to put it in the general sub for the summer" said Senator Dickerson, a Republican from Nashville, referring to the place where legislation dies.
Last week, a House committee approved an amended version of the bill that would have provided patients suffering from certain illnesses a legal defense if arrested for using MMJ, if they had a note from their doctor.
Dickerson said the amended version was not sufficient, as it places the burden of proof on the patients. It also did not give the state an opportunity to tax and regulate medical marijuana.
“I fear that if we passed the watered-down version of this bill, it would essentially forestall any efforts to have a much more widespread, much more thoughtful legislative construct for several years.”
Dickerson, along with other supporters of the bill, was encouraged by a recently released study, which found that in states with MMJ dispensaries opioid prescriptions had declined.
"I'm committed to the proposition that cannabis is a medication and it can be substituted for other medications that are much more dangerous," said Dickerson per the Tennessean.
Tennessee’s opioid crisis is out of control, with an average of three overdose deaths per day, reaching 42,000 in 2016 (no stats yet for 2017).
The state’s estimated 7.6 million painkiller prescriptions far exceed its total population by 1 million, making Tennessee one of the highest prescribing states in the country.
Tennessee’s Governor Bill Haslam is currently looking for funding to support his $30 million dollar plan to combat opioid addiction, which does not include the obvious: medical cannabis.
Lawmakers continue to ignore science at their peril and to the detriment of their citizens.