marijuana

Tennessee to allow weed investment to go pot

The “policy implications” of the state’s retirement fund’s investment into a company operating in the marijuana sector has Treasurer David Lillard ordering the shares be sold, according to a report by Andy Sher of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

That’s despite a 26% gain in share price of San Diego-based Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. since the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System’s small-stock fund bought 7,009 shares in April or May.

The company is a real estate Investment trust that bills itself as the “leading provider of real estate capital for the medical-use cannabis industry.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Tennessee was among more than dozen states that stood to benefit from Illinois’ new recreational marijuana. Illinois is one of 11 states where Innovative Industrial Properties does business.

Michael Brakebill, the pension fund’s chief investment officer, told the Times Free Press that the investment into the company was part of a small-company stock index the state created.

Lillard said it’s difficult to evaluate every stock that’s part of an index, but that “we’ve got to figure out a way to do that and deal with it because it highlights the fact that you know what you’ve got in portfolio.”

The investment in Innovative Industrial Properties is worth about $720,000 out of the state’s $52 billion retirement system.

“The bottom line is I have ordered Michael and his staff to sell this investment, and we won’t have it after today or tomorrow, whenever the transaction goes down,” Lillard told the paper.

Tennessee lawmakers have balked in recent years to join states legalizing medical or recreational cannabis.

 

Lee wants to ‘explore alternatives’ to medical marijuana legalization

Republican Gov. Bill Lee wants to “explore alternatives” before the state takes steps to legalize medical marijuana, WKRN-TV reports.

“I think we ought to expand the use of low-THC CBD oils first to alternative treatments before we go there,” said Lee said.

A renewed effort to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee would establish a framework to license growing and dispensing cannabis. Supporters note  that 33 states representing two-thirds of the national population have already enacted medical marijuana programs. They also argue legalization would lead to a significant drop in opioid abuse.

Recreational use would remain banned under this year’s bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Travis (R-Dayton) and Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma). The measure would require patients suffering from a specific set of maladies to obtain a cannabis card from a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner.

Harwell’s latest ad touts support for medical marijuana

Republican gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell has a launched a new TV ad touting herself as the only Republican gubernatorial candidate who supports legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee.

“I am the only Republican candidate for governor who supports legalizing doctor-prescribed medical cannabis,” she said. “Many suffer: veterans, children with seizures, cancer patients, our elderly. I just know if were my loved one, I would want this option.”

Harwell notes in the ad that President Donald Trump agrees, showing footage of the president saying “I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree?”

Harwell concludes the ad by saying: “Opioids must not be our only option for those in pain.”

Here’s the full ad:

 

Latest effort to legalize medical marijuana in TN: The TRUMP Act

Heartened by President Donald Trump’s recent comments about marijuana, two Tennessee lawmakers who are physicians plan to renew efforts next year to legalize medical cannabis and are naming the bill after the president, reports the Times Free Press.

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Faison criticized for medical marijuana support by GOP challenger in House District 11

In a “spirited and at times heated debate,” House Government Operations Chairman Jeremy Faison was criticized on several matters by Greg Fodness, who is challenging him in in the House District 11 Republican primary, reports the Newport Plain Talk. One hot topic was Faison’s advocacy of legalizing medical marijuana in recent legislative sessions.

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MTSU Poll: Most Tennesseans support citizenship for ‘dreamers,’ limited marijuana legalization

Press release from Middle Tennessee State University

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Solid majorities of Tennessee voters express support for immigrants in the country illegally, especially the so-called “Dreamers” who were brought to the country as children, according to the latest MTSU Poll.

In other results that may raise eyebrows, a broad majority of Tennessee voters support at least limited marijuana legalization. Even 51 percent of self-identified evangelical Christians surveyed say they support legalization for medicinal use.

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Push for passage of medical marijuana bill abandoned for 4th consecutive year

Sponsors of the “Medical Cannabis Act” gave up their push for passage of the bill for 2018 on Tuesday, acknowledging there’s no enough support for legalizing use of marijuana derivatives in medications among colleagues in the General Assembly.

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Medical marijuana bill watered down, still stalled

The House sponsor of a bill to allow Tennesseans’ use of medical cannabis performed major surgery on the legislation in a committee Wednesday, discarding a number of controversial provisions in an effort to soften opposition. But the Times Free Press reports there was still opposition even after the bill’s scope was substantially reduced and a vote was put off for another week.

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Harwell breaks tie, advances medical marijuana bill

House Speaker Beth Harwell speaks at a gubernatorial forum in Nashville on Feb. 27, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell has stepped in to advance medical marijuana legislation in legislature. As House speaker the Nashville Republican has the power to vote in any of the chamber’s committees, and when the Civil Criminal Justice Subcommittee was deadlocked 3-3 on the bill, she cast the deciding vote keep the bill moving.

Harwell had earlier signed on as a co-sponsor of the measure dubbed the Medical Cannabis Only Act. The main sponsors are Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville).

“I am in favor of this legislation, which does not allow for the smoking of medical marijuana — I am not in favor of that approach,” Harwell said in a release announcing her co-sponsorship of the bill. “However, the federal government continues to be a roadblock for legitimate research or medical uses of medical cannabis, but other states have enacted laws to help patients, and Tennessee should do the same.”

Another co-sponsor is Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), the chairman of the House Health Subcommittee.

“The inaction and hypocritical stance at the federal level puts many patients in a bind and hinders medical research and treatment. States need to stand up for patients,” said Terry, a physician.

Note: Voting with Harwell for the bill were  Reps. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Tilman Goins (R-Morristown) and Sherry Jones (D-Nashville). Voting no were Reps. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) and Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough).

 

Black, husband criticized for lobbying against medical marijuana bill

Medical marijuana legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison is hitting a hurdle with gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Diane Black opposing it and her husband trying to kill the measure, according to the Tennessee Ledger. Her husband says his actions are in the public interest and not for any financial gain by his company.

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