Tennessee Forms New Committee to Educate Public on Medical Marijuana

A newly formed committee is helping Tennessee Medical Marijuana take a step forward for a vote in 2018. This committee will be traveling to different areas of Tennessee getting the public opinion on whether or not Tennessee Medical Marijuana will be good for the state. The biggest resistance on is coming from people that aged 65 and up, because of Reefer Madness era campaigns that have convinced Tennesseans that medical marijuana will be a gateway drug to hard drugs.

Tennessee medical marijuana has a chance to be passed in 2018, but politicians want to make sure that the bill is written properly compared to other “substandard” bills submitted in the past. Do you think that this panel can effectively gain true public opinion when it comes to potential Tennessee medical marijuana or that it will be a political stunt to keep the truth away from Tennessee’s citizens?

Let us know in the comments!

Educating lawmakers and the general public will be a key component of the recently formed legislative committee tasked with tackling medical marijuana, according to one of the legislators heading up the panel.

“I think one of the goals is to make sure that the people and the advocates and the patients are aware of what we’re doing and make sure that they give feedback to their elected officials,” said Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, who along with Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, are heading up a legislative committee to study the issue.

Dickerson said as the committee holds meetings throughout the three grand divisions of the state, the discussions will likely focus on different aspects of medical marijuana, including talks about law enforcement and taxation.

“The goal is not to have the same meeting (in the different areas of the state),” he said.

The senator said although he and Faison are still working on scheduling logistics, the first meeting could take place as early as September, with gatherings tentatively held each subsequent month.

Dickerson said he hopes the meetings will hear from those for and against medical marijuana all in an effort to work toward a bill that could advance further in the legislature during the upcoming session.

Calling the first medical marijuana bill he introduced several years ago “substandard,” Dickerson said each subsequent piece of legislation has gotten better.

During the 2017 session, Dickerson and Faison introduced yet another medical marijuana bill.

“People over 65 were just so inculcated with the ‘Reefer Madness’ kind of thought. They often find it shocking to find out the gateway theory is a complete lie,” he said, referring to the idea that marijuana use can lead to other harder drugs.

Earlier this year, Safe Access Now successfully pressured the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to remove marijuana from its list of “gateway drugs” on the agency’s website.

Given the tendency of those 65 and older to vote more often than younger people, Hairston said that could lead to some hesitancy among lawmakers to support medical marijuana.

Although acknowledging that there’s an uphill battle ahead, Hairston is confident the state legislature could see serious advancement on the issue during the 2018 legislative session.

Hairston believes Tennessee will become the 30th state to allow medical marijuana. “No doubt about it in my mind,” he said, citing polls, including one released by Vanderbilt University in May.

The poll found 47 percent of those surveyed support medical marijuana, up from 42 percent in November.

In January, a poll from Tennesseans for Conservative Action found 52 percent of those surveyed supported medical marijuana while 31 percent opposed it.

Despite such polling, Holt remains skeptical that the newly formed committee will lead to any major shift in the legislature.


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