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.

In the House, the bill (HB1749) had cleared one committee under sponsorship of Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) but still had two more to go when the Senate sponsor, Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) announced the bill is dead for the year – again.


“I am regretful we didn’t get something through, but the votes weren’t there,” said Sen. Dickerson.

This is the fourth year Sen. Dickerson, who is a doctor, has sponsored the bill. It would have provided Tennesseans with specific medical conditions access to cannabis oil. He said this year’s effort was a learning experience.

“What we learned this year, was the bills we had in the past weren’t very good,” said Sen. Dickerson. “I think we are very close to having the right combination now.”

Supporters who followed the bill closely were disappointed by the news.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Matt Walczyk, a veteran who relies on medical cannabis to manage PTSD symptoms. “It really would have been the safest way for a medical cannabis patient to get and use cannabis.”

Walczyk helped Sen. Dickerson with the bill, and also traveled the state to rally support. He said he met countless veterans who would have benefited from the bill.

Sen. Dickerson said this year’s efforts would not go to waste, and he vowed to bring the bill back next session.

“I consider today to be the first day of the campaign to get medical cannabis passed in 2019,” said Dickerson.

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