NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A conservative state lawmaker says “COVID has increased the need for medical cannabis” in Tennessee.
Those words come from Senator Janice Bowling who represents a rural area between Nashville and Chattanooga.
She added on Monday that the “finishing touches” are being put on the bill before it’s filed for the next legislative session that begins in January.
“Medical cannabis has been researched. Formulations have been determined over the last 50 years,” she told News 2 earlier this month. “This is not something new. This is something new to be legal in Tennessee.”
Senator Bowling hopes the time for legalizing medical cannabis is now.
“COVID has increased the need for medical cannabis,” Sen. Bowling said.
She first points to concern that “80-90%” of United States pharmaceuticals come from what she likes to remind people is “Communist China.”
Sen. Bowling added “a lot of people are recognizing too, more natural things.”
Previous versions of the bill allowed a pill, salve, or chewable form of medical cannabis, but not a smokeable kind.
“During COVID, people are becoming more take charge regarding their health,” said the senator. “And medical cannabis is now legal in I believe 41 states.”
While still working on this year’s version, the lawmaker said, “I am very concerned that people in Tennessee need access to this legitimate medical choice.”
Sen. Bowling indicated that G.O.P Rep. Iris Rudder would be the House sponsor of her bill.
While polls show a majority of Tennesseans support it, there remain those in her own party who have been skeptical about medical cannabis, including Governor Bill Lee.
The legislature will be without one of its major Republican advocates for medical cannabis when it comes back in January. Nashville physician Steve Dickerson lost a bid for another term in his traditionally Democratic district.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.