Shelby County revives talk of medical marijuana

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Commissioners waded back into the fight over weed in Tennessee on Wednesday. The commission approved its legislative agenda weeks ago without any mention of weed but could all change now.
"I'm not wanting to legitimize it. I'm not wanting to legalize it. I just want the medical portion of it to be available to the people that need it," Commissioner Terry Roland said.
The focus on medical marijuana comes as marijuana advocates and some Tennessee lawmakers are trying to get it passed in the state this session.

Arkansas recently approved medical marijuana.
Commissioner Heidi Shafer disputes the use of the term "medical" marijuana.
"To me that has an implication that it would be prescribed by a physician and monitored, and that's not the case here at all," Shafer said.

 William Howard spoke to commissioners in favor of it.
"It's not about getting high anymore. We need medicine, and medicine that's not going to kill people in the process," Howard said, who runs a hemp farm.

The committee approved sending a modified legislative agenda to the full commission. It would include a statement urging lawmakers and Governor Bill Haslam to authorize medical marijuana in Tennessee.

The committee also approved a similar statement asking lawmakers and the governor to sign off on a second chance program for people caught using less than half an ounce of marijuana.

"We want to make sure the outcome is reasonable and equitable for everyone," County Commission Chairman Melvin Burgess said.
That action comes as the city of Memphis's marijuana decriminalization ordinance remains on hold, due to an opinion by the Tennessee state Attorney General.
Shelby County Commissioners voted down their own decriminalization ordinance late last year.
The full commission would have to vote to approve the statements of support with respect to marijuana. The vote is expected Monday at 3 p.m. at their regular commission meeting.

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