Tennessee Representative proposes medical marijuana bill - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee Representative proposes medical marijuana bill

A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House. A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

(WMC-TV) - A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

A companion bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee.  The House Health Subcommittee approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday.

A previous proposal to legalize medical marijuana made it through Tennessee House committees two years ago, but did not fare well in the Senate.  The sponsor of the latest bill, 89th District Representative Jeanne Richardson, thinks her bill might just pass.

"Medical cannabis is becoming more generally accepted in our society," said Richardson.

The democrat, representing part of midtown Memphis, points to Gallup Poll results for support.

"Over 80 percent of the American population feels that medical cannabis should be legalized," said Richardson.

Richardson said she believes her bill has a better chance of becoming law due to an increase in medical marijuana use around the country, legally or not, to treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

"It's making people understand, mo matter which side of the political spectrum it's on, that it is a compassionate way to treat certain illnesses," said Richardson.

Richardson claimed the proposed bill would create some of the toughest access standards among states that have already enacted medical cannabis laws.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already passed bills legalizing medical marijuana.

Richardson said most legislators she has talked with in Nashville support the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee but believe it would be political suicide back home in the ballot box to vote in favor of the measure.  She said she believes that would be the only reason a medical marijuana bill does not pass this time.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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