Tennessee lawmakers for the first time in history today passed a medical cannabis bill in a full legislative committee, but the road to an actual law remains uncertain.
The measure, with some minor amendments today and a major one last week, passed the House Criminal Justice Committee with a surprisingly easy vote of 9 -2.
There was even support from conservative Republican members like Rep. Michael Curcio and Rep.Micah Van Huss.
Medical cannabis supporters considered both lawmakers as “no” votes before they voted “yes” on Tuesday.
The bill now heads to the Tennessee House Health Committee early next week.
Its also expected to be heard next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill was gutted last week in an effort by sponsor Jeremy Faison to get support so it could move to the House Health Committee and potentially the Senate.
Instead of a 70-plus page bill measure full of regulations for growing and distributing medical cannabis, Rep. Faison amended the bill to only decriminalize possession of the cannabis oil for conditions like cancer, epilepsy or Parkinson’s.
It means those who use cannabis oil products would not be prosecuted, but they would have to go to another state to get them and have a doctor’s order for their use.
Once again on Tuesday, there was more testimony from those who use the cannabis oil to ease things like seizures.
There was also opposition from law enforcement who foresee more problems with impaired drivers, along with fraud and abuse.