Will Williamson’s Majority Leader be For New Medical Marijuana Bill?

In an announcement Wednesday, two Tennessee Republican lawmakers introduced a new bill that would tightly legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Already, Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) declared seeing its passage as “an uphill” battle, but one they consider fighting. Named the “Medical Cannabis Act of 2017,” the bill spells out the specifications for growing and dispensing medical marijuana for health care professionals.

Without fully seeing the bill yet, Majority Leader and Thompson’s Station Republican Glen Casada said he’s not sure what he thinks of the measure. Right now, 28 states allow for medicinal marijuana use.

In the past when Jeremy Faison brought up industrial hemp, I supported it, and it was proven to be of industrial strength and efficacy,” Casada said, sitting in his office inside the legislature. “But before legislators get involved in science, we need to make sure the FDA and people study it, so that we aren’t going on emotion.”

The bill provides at least 12 different medical conditions eligible for a medical marijuana prescription, but lawmakers said more could appear.

Patients must have health issues named in the law to receive medical marijuana. They must also get a medical card not to be more than $35 at the recommendation of a health care professional. Medical cannabis cannot be use in public or while driving.

The bill would also create a Medical Cannabis Commission, placed under the Department of Health. The MCC will authorize medical professionals to prescribe medical marijuana.

There will only be a maximum of 150 dispensaries in the state and Tennessee will only have 50 growers. The license for the 15 have to be given to businesses located in a distressed county. Growers will be in a warehouse that has ability for security measures.

During his campaign, Casada touched on wanting to see the state handle its opioid crisis. He said legalizing medicinal marijuana could be considered a solution, but one he wanted incredibly analyzed. But overall, not many in Williamson County have emailed him on the issue throughout the years, including two years ago when a similar bill surfaced in the House.

He said a few have touched base with him throughout the years about legalizing recreational use as well as medicinal.

With that said, we already have THC in a pill form,” Casada said. “I guess science would support a smoking form. I think THC in the pill form could be more effective in looking for something to address [the opioid crisis]. It’s already in place and efficacious.”

But Faison said he fully believes it could help the state’s issue with residents abusing opioids in search of relief for a number of aliments. He said largely, he’s going to have to educate Republicans on the issue.

Faison also said his mind changed when he met a young girl named Josie back in the summer of 2013.

“I had believed that anyone who wanted to use pot was just a pothead for 36 years of my life until I met Josie,” Faison said. “She had seizures while she was in my arms. The more I studied the more I realized for 4,000 years we’ve used this plant, and in the last 80 years we aren’t using it. What is wrong with us?

“I am hoping as we get exposure and the people will call their representatives, and say ‘look at what this botanical does for us.’ This isn’t about potheads. This is about healing, and it’s a true medical benefit for society.”

Emily West covers Franklin, education, and high school football for the Franklin Home Page. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22. 


  1. My son’s best friend just died from a seizure that may have been prevented by medical marijuana. When is the legislature going to catch up with the medical research findings that clearly show the efficacy of medical marijuana for many medial condtions?

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