NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Can legalizing medical marijuana or cannabis get more traction among Tennessee lawmakers in the upcoming session?
There will be at least one effort led again by conservative Republican state senator Janice Bowling.
The senator told News 2 last month she would support some kind of a bill allowing medical marijuana.
After being a staunch opponent, Sen. Bowling did a 180-degree turn because she said her constituents overwhelmingly want medical marijuana as a painkiller and an alternative for opioids.
“Not addictive, you can’t overdose, and you’ll reduce the need for that opioid,” she said last year because the bill was withdrawn.
Opponents include the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director, who has often testified against medical cannabis as long as it remains illegal at the federal level and not approved by the Federal Drug Administration or FDA.
“If its truly for medical purposes, then go through the proper way of getting a drug approved to be medicine and that is through the FDA, and if they go through that process, the FDA approves it as medicine we are out of the way,” said Director Rausch two weeks ago at Tennessee House budget hearings for his agency.
Republican Gov. Bill Lee has also been an opponent, saying more research and expanded use of CBD oil is needed before medical cannabis is considered.
Longtime supporter and new House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison said last month he is trying to sway the powerful opponents of medical cannabis.
“And behind the scenes, I will work the governor. I will work leadership,” said Rep. Faison on Dec. 2. “I will do what it takes to get this across the hurdle.”