A bill to legalize medical cannabis in Tennessee failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee Feb. 28 on a nearly party-line vote.
Senate Bill 1104, the “Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act,” sponsored by Rep. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma), would have legalized medical cannabis use for patients with qualifying conditions including cancer, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, opioid addiction, severe psoriasis and more.
State Sens. London Lamar and Sara Kyle, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, were joined by Republican Kerry Roberts in the minority of the vote Feb. 28, WKRN reported.
According to the news outlet, other cannabis-related legislation in Tennessee has failed to make progress this legislative session. For example, House Bill 0172, another bill aimed at legalizing medical cannabis, has not yet made it through committees.
Cannabis Business Times previously named Tennessee a “Wild Card” on its list of states that could legalize cannabis in 2023—as a state that could legalize adult-use cannabis before legalizing medical cannabis, something that has not yet been done.
Sen. Heidi Campbell and Rep. Bob Freeman, both Democrats, introduced the Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act (the “FACT Act” for short) in January, which “decriminalizes the use of marijuana under certain circumstances and creates a regulatory framework for the cultivation, transport, researching, processing, and distribution of marijuana.”
“We’re already seeing that many states have legalized cannabis,” Campbell said. “We’re in a situation where we’re missing out on that profit because people are going to other [states].”
While Campbell and Freeman are optimistic about the bill, Republican lawmakers are unlikely to be on board, CBT reported.
The FACT Act was assigned to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Feb. 8.