TN’s Medical Marijuana Task Force Hears Testimony Thursday

Local News

Approving medical cannabis looks like one of the major issues next session on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill. More evidence and another unlikely convert came Thursday at a meeting of the Medical Cannabis Task Force.

Another conservative Republican added their voice of support for medical marijuana.

“The era of Reefer Madness is over.” Dentist Bob Ramsey, who doubles as a state lawmaker, referenced a famous cult movie about marijuana dangers. But while saying he did not want to be on the Medical Cannabis Task Force, the conservative East Tennessee Republican says he sees the merits of cannabis as a plant to help a lot of illnesses.

“The sponsors, as I see it, have developed the best bill that has been developed in the United States,” says Rep. Ramsey.

Among those in the packed meeting of the Medical Cannabis Task Force at the capitol was a young man who served as an infantryman in Iraq. He would like to see medical marijuana or cannabis available to help former soldiers like himself, who struggle with post-traumatic stress syndrome – PTSD.

“PTSD causes paranoia. It’s one of the main symptoms, and you have these individuals who have to go into the criminal element just to find their medication,” says Matt Walczyk.

Those needed convincing about medical marijuana include most law enforcement officials, but the co-chair of the task force says they need get up to date.

“Law enforcement we love them, but they are wrong on this one,” says Rep. Jeremy Faison. “They are supposed to enforce law not dictate law, hope your listeners understand that. We pass laws, not law enforcement.”

Other testimony Thursday include that of an Arkansas lawmaker who is putting that state’s medical marijuana program together after people voted it in last year.  

As the co-chair of Tennessee’ task force says, expect an avalanche of testimony on both sides of medical marijuana issue, when the session begins in January.


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