One day after a new 72-page medical cannabis or marijuana bill was filed by two prominent members of his party, Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Haslam doesn’t sound like he’ll be changing his opposition to the idea.
“I think our position on medical marijuana has been the same, and I don’t think you’ll see our administration be in favor of that,” the governor told reporters Friday morning.
The “Medical Cannabis Only Act” sponsored by East Tennessee Representative Jeremy Faison along with Nashville Senator Steve Dickerson, who is also a physician, is named that way to remind people the bill allows just cannabis oil products, not smoking the of the plant.
Sen. Dickerson says legalizing the cannabis oil “will help Tennessee’s sickest citizens” while Rep. Faison calls the bill “an alternative to opiates.”
Along with the governor, other top Senate Republicans on Thursday indicated they would be a “no vote” without more research, control and the Drug Enforcement Administration changing marijuana’s classification as a federal Schedule 1 felony drug offense.
Nashville Democrat Sherry Jones, who sponsored previous medical cannabis bills for more than a decade, says the governor and Republican leadership need to re-read the research.
“If the governor is not for medical marijuana and for helping the people that studies have proven it will help, then he is wrong,” she said to News 2.
Several members of Senate leadership said on Thursday that instead of medical cannabis, they are focused on the comprehensive opioid epidemic bill that will be unveiled by Governor Haslam on Monday afternoon.