TN: Veterans Weigh In On Medical Cannabis Only Bill

Photo Credit: Nicholas Belton

So far, across the country 29 states have legalized some form of medical marijuana. Tennessee may soon be added to that list as early as next week.

“They’ve tried it. It works, and they want it,” DeWayne Rhudy said.

Rhudy is a Marine veteran and has spent the last two years recruiting fellow veterans who support legalizing medical cannabis.

“Making cannabis illegal to people who need it medically is absurd,” he said.

The bill would allow Tennessee patients with certain conditions like cancer, ALS, Alzheimers and PTSD to name a few, access to cannabis oil and oil-based products.

“It is the best compromise for all parties involved just so we can get something on the books, cause a lot of this is new territory,” said Matt Walczyk

Walczyk served in the Army National Guard from 2009 to 2013, he currently suffers from PTSD.

“The VA began prescribing me medications that had disastrous side effects,” he said. A few years ago he became an advocate for medical cannabis and believes legalizing it will cut down on the amount of veteran suicides, 22 a day.

“Definitely, it will go down,” Walczyk said.

If passed, the bill would include the formation of a nine member Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission that would oversee the regulations and business practices. “As a patient myself its kind of reassuring knowing that somebody is going to be mandating that these products are tested, regulated and quality control,” said Walczyk.

According to these veterans, if this bill is passed, it’s one step forward for the State and according to Rhudy, it comes down to one, simple issue.

“It helps them and what the VA is doing for them is hurting them,” he said.

Lawmakers will discuss the bill on Wednesday.