- D.H. Reilly
Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Tennessee?
We know it seems like a pipe dream at times, but trust us… For those who get a Tennessee Marijuana Card, medical marijuana is coming to the Volunteer State.
You’ve probably heard things like that before, but when you look at all the obstacles in getting a program and everything that is trending in our favor, it’s clear that in only a matter of time, Tennessee will have a medical marijuana market of its own. Still don’t believe us? Just read on!
Obstacles to Medical Marijuana in Tennessee Are Beginning to Crumble
The two major barriers standing between Tennessee and medical marijuana are both beginning to crumble: Republican state legislators and federal resistance to marijuana legalization.
State Republican Lawmakers Beginning to Embrace Medical Marijuana
Republicans in Tennessee and nationally have long been resistant to any marijuana legalization efforts, but that trend is starting to change.
Nationally, Republicans have been supportive of many state medical marijuana programs, and it likely will continue, as those Republicans have seen their public support increase after getting behind cannabis reform.
Jill Swing, president and founder of the medical marijuana advocacy group, South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance, says that Republican lawmakers have historically worried that introducing cannabis legislation would hurt their chances of re-election. But, as medical marijuana programs proliferate nationally (thirty-seven states now have programs!), that hasn’t been the case.
“In fact,” Swing says, “they have been touted as heroes by stepping out and supporting medical cannabis legislation, where in the beginning, they were considered outliers,”.
This could be a big boost to Tennessee’s medical marijuana hopes, as legalization efforts here have been scuttled by Republican lawmakers in the past.
Progress Made at the Federal Level Should Have Influence at the State Level
The remaining roadblock between us and medical marijuana is the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana, which is also beginning to crack.
Last year, when the Tennessee legislature voted to expand the qualifying conditions for allowing patients to use very low levels of THC, they also created the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission.
The commission was given the task of preparing “recommendations for how best to establish an effective, patient-focused medical marijuana program in Tennessee and include proposed legislation in its recommendations.”
The state seems to already be operating under the assumption that medical marijuana in Tennessee is inevitable. However, there’s a catch: The legislation creating the commission does not “authorize a medical cannabis program to operate” in Tennessee, and declares that “licenses for such a program shall not be issued … until marijuana is removed from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”
The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, making it equivalent to heroin or cocaine. Like other schedule 1 drugs, the government considers marijuana to have no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse.
Some Republicans in the state government said they refuse to support any marijuana legalization efforts so long as the medicine is banned at the federal level, which is why that condition was placed in the bill.
There is reason to suspect the federal classification of marijuana won’t be long lived. President Biden promised during his campaign to reclassify marijuana, and some Republicans, who have traditionally been the opponents of decriminalizing cannabis, have called on Biden to fulfill his word on the issue. Also, marijuana reform has had growing bipartisan support in Congress.
So, the only two real barriers between Tennessee and medical marijuana - Republican resistance and federal resistance - are both beginning to break. Consider that with all the trends moving towards support of medical marijuana, and those last two barriers are sure to come down.
State and National Trends All Favor Medical Marijuana Coming to Tennessee
Long-standing resistance at the state and federal levels won’t begin to waiver without considerable pressure, and there is a reason why volunteer State Republicans and federal politicians are beginning to change their tunes on medical marijuana. All of the trends, both in Tennessee and nationally, are moving in medical marijuana’s favor, pressuring opponents to get with the times.
Nationally, we’ve mentioned the bipartisan push for marijuana reform in Congress, and that trend is mirrored here at home.
Multiple reform bills have been introduced in the state legislature this year, ranging from medical, decriminalization, and legalization of marijuana. Unfortunately, there has been very limited GOP support for these bills, considering that both houses are led by Republicans.
One notable exception is a bill co-sponsored by Republican Bruce Griffey in the House and Democrat Sara Kyle in the Senate. That legislation would add three questions for voters to answer on the 2022 ballot:
Should the State of Tennessee legalize medical marijuana?
Should the State of Tennessee decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana?
Should the State of Tennessee legalize and regulate commercial sales of recreational use marijuana?
The results would then be compiled by the Secretary of State and shared with the General Assembly.
And while the results would in no way be binding, if they overwhelmingly favor medical marijuana, it would serve as a real wake up call to state GOP legislators who are still resistant to allowing people to find relief.
There is every reason to believe the results would certainly favor medical marijuana. Tennessee may not support the medicine to the degree that the rest of the country does (91% of Americans say they favor marijuana being legal for medical reasons), but it’s still supported.
In fact, according to a Middle Tennessee State University poll, 81% of Tennessee voters think medical marijuana should be legal. Imagine a number like that presented to a Tennessee state legislator who has been reluctant to get with the times, only it’s on the official Secretary of State letterhead.
That might be a wake up call that their job is on the line if they don’t give the voters what they want!
Don’t Wait Longer Than You Have to for Relief!
The good news is that medical marijuana’s arrival in Tennessee is inevitable. The bad news is we have no idea exactly when it will arrive.
But the other good news is you can start getting ready for that arrival right now!
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors as soon as Tennessee’s full medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your doctor virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your conditions, what medical marijuana might be able to do for you, and whether you qualify for a Tennessee Marijuana Card, all without even leaving your home. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Tennessee Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 781-5611, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Tennessee Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!