Sponsor of Tennessee medical pot bill pares measure back

Tennessee state Rep. Jeremy Faison

NASHVILLE - The sponsor of a bill to allow Tennesseans' use of medical cannabis performed major surgery on the legislation Wednesday, discarding a number of controversial provisions in an effort to soften opposition.

"What I'm trying to do is decriminalize it if you have one of the 15 qualifying [medical] conditions," Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, told House Criminal Justice Committee members Wednesday.

The four-page amendment, approved by the panel, creates an exception in existing law to allow residents suffering from diseases or conditions ranging from cancer to chronic pain to be immune from arrest and prosecution provided they have proof of a legal order or recommendation by a doctor in a note saying the patient is likely to benefit.

It was a fallback from the original 72-page bill that created a program in which eligible patients would have had an electronic registration card from state authorities.