How Will History Judge the 2019 Tennessee Legislature on Medical Cannabis?

March 24, 2019

How Will History Judge the 2019 Tennessee Legislature on Medical Cannabis?

The winds of change are blowing on the subject of medical cannabis, both in Tennessee and the nation.

February of 2019 brought the medical cannabis issue front and center politically, and it is common sense to expect smart politicians to want to avoid becoming swept away in the process.

This is especially relevant to those politicians running for reelection in Tennessee because medical cannabis is a bipartisan, multigenerational issue within their constituencies. It will be an exponentially more problematic issue to avoid facing one’s past voting records on the issue in the age of the internet and grassroots community activism.

In Tennessee on February 6th, a Republican sponsored medical cannabis bill was introduced (by Representative Jeremy Faison and Senator Steve Dickerson) to the profound relief of suffering and dying patients statewide. Meanwhile nationally, on the 23rd of the month the current administration’s statement by press secretary Sean Spicer on the subject of medical cannabis was extremely friendly, despite being much less so on the subject of recreational cannabis legalization.

It’s not a stretch to see that if Tennessee instituted a medical cannabis program, we could have a safe, non lethal alternative to opioid medications – one that 91% of people who try it never become addicted to– for Tennesseans in need of chronic pain management. It would be a literal life altering step for those suffering from other illnesses and conditions currently including, but not limited to, seizures, PTSD, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and HIV/AIDS.

It’s also a great way to lessen the damage caused by Tennessee’s number 2 spot in the national rankings for the amount of opioid prescriptions written.

Studies show that states with medical cannabis programs have an average drop in overdose deaths of around 25%, that is particularly important to Tennessee as it has lost 6,036 citizens to overdose death in the last 5 years alone.

Also note that according to recent studies, medical cannabis patients end up substituting cannabis for pharmaceutical medicines including antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, anti anxiety and pain management medications. This is extremely important to patients because it allows them to downsize on medications and the negative side effects of many medications, as well as having potential cost savings from the changes.

A recent national poll by Quinnipiac showed a 93% approval rating on the subject of medical cannabis by the American public. This shows that 9 out of 10 average citizens are in favor of giving people the added choice of safe, non toxic, cannabis medicine.

Hopefully this has been a wake up call for state level politicians across the nation on the subject of medical cannabis programs, especially in light of the current administration’s friendly stance on the subject of medical cannabis and states rights.

Many Tennesseans feel that in 2019, it is especially relevant because even polling numbers in our deeply conservative citizens are solidly in favor of a medical cannabis program in the Volunteer state.

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