Two republican lawmakers are looking to bring medical marijuana to their home state of Tennessee—and they need some help.
Rep. Jeremy Faison and Sen. Steve Dickerson announced the framework for their bill, the “Medical Cannabis Act of 2017,” at the state capitol on Wednesday morning. The announcement also streamed live on Faison’s Facebook page.
“We chose to release the bill, release the outline of the bill today so we could get feedback, feedback from both proponents and opponents, people within the state government and advocates out of the state government,” Dickerson said. “That gives us about six weeks to get feedback from all interested parties so that when we introduce this bill in the House and in the Senate as a better bill than it is today.”
In addition to feedback, Dickerson and Faison are asking people—especially those with personal stories—to call their state legislature.
“Now is the time we’re making a call to action,” Dickerson said. “It is those individual stories that are going to make a difference when we introduce this bill.”
Individual stories like the veteran, retired police officer and families lined up behind the podium during the press conference. These are the same people who swayed Faison from thinking marijuana was “just for potheads.”
Faison said this bill isn’t being created so that people can get high, “this bill is about providing a healthy botanical that brings life and freedom to what you see here.”
Faison told DOPE Magazine that the bill is similar to the medical marijuana initiative that passed in Florida this past election cycle.
The two stressed that this is still a “framework” but it would decriminalize growing, manufacturing, dispensing and using the whole cannabis plant for patients and caregivers, healthcare professionals recommending use and for dispensaries and growers complying with the Act.
The Medical Cannabis Commission, created under the Department of Health, would permit licenses and coordinate and consult with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Safety and the Department of Health. The Medical Cannabis Commission would “promulgate rules and pricing for license and safety checks,” according to the draft document.
License costs would be limited to up to 20 percent of the actual administrative costs.
The state will allow 50 grows and will license the first 15 “to businesses located in a distressed county.” A distressed county is based on poverty and unemployment rates.
Each grow is authorized to have up to three dispensaries.
The maximum number of dispensaries allotted within the state is 150.
Patients must have one of the healthcare related problems listed in the law—there are 12—and they must obtain a medical card that is not to cost more than $35 at the recommendation of the licensed healthcare professional.