Dickerson, Faison introduce Medical Cannabis Only Act

Tennessee state Rep. Jeremy Faison

State Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, today introduced the Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018, which would give Tennessee patients with specific health conditions access to safe, regulated medical cannabis oil-based products, according to a news release.

Tennessee patients with health conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, PTSD, Alzheimer's Disease, severe arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chron's Disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, schizophrenia and seizures characteristic of epilepsy, among others, would qualify.

The legislation would also create an independent commission composed of doctors, pharmacists, law enforcement officials, educators and patient advocates to regulate and license the industry, including issuing registration cards to qualifying patients.

The nine-member commission would be funded by license and application fees and appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and Speaker of the House, according to the release.

"Some of our sickest Tennesseans desperately want the freedom to choose what is best for their own health, and they want to be able to make that decision with their doctor," Faison said in the release. "Now is the time for a safe and healthy alternative to opiates, psychotropics and anti-inflammatories."

Dickerson and Faison led the Medical Cannabis Task Force for the Tennessee General Assembly in fall of 2017.

"Now is the time for the General Assembly to embrace thoughtful, medically responsible legislation to help Tennessee's sickest residents," Dickerson said.

Thirty other states, including Arkansas, Florida and West Virginia, have authorized this type of access, and it is estimated that at least 65,000 Tennesseans would benefit from safe, regulated access to medical cannabis oil-based manufactured products. Currently, there are more than 800 medical cannabis products on the market available to patients in other states but illegal to Tennesseans, according to the release.