Jan 23 2010
12:56 pm

It's been a crappy week. The weather is as dark and gray as my mood when you consider the SCOTUS travesty and Scott Brown in Ted Kennedy's seat.

But, in case you missed it, on January 13, a medical marijuana bill, "Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act", was introduced in the Tennessee State Legislature.

The bill basically allows those with illnesses like Cancer, Chrohn's, Hepatitis C, Glaucoma, and other conditions to get a prescription and a program card for medical marijuana. It also sets up conditions for distributors and producers.

An excerpt from the bill;



This bill establishes the safe access program. To enroll in the program, a qualified patient must receive a prescription for medical marijuana from a practitioner, stating that in the practitioner's professional opinion the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient. The prescription and safe access program enrollment completed at the participating pharmacy must specify the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition."

" A qualifying patient who has possession of a program identification card and is enrolled in the program would not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner or denied any right or privilege, for the medical use of marijuana. A school, employer or landlord may not refuse to enroll, employ, or lease to or otherwise penalize a person solely for the person's status as a cardholder. Registered qualifying patients would be allowed to possess a reasonable amount of marijuana, not to exceed one month's supply, as determined by their practitioner. Any interest in or right to property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of cannabis, or acts incidental to such use, may not be forfeited. For the purposes of medical care, including organ transplants, a registered qualifying patient's authorized use of marijuana would be considered the equivalent of the authorized use of any other medication and would not constitute the use of an illicit substance. There would exist a presumption that a qualifying patient is engaged in the medical use of marijuana if the qualifying patient possesses a program identification card and possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed a one-month supply."

The bill summary is definitely worth the read.

We can only hope this bill will pass.

BoB W.'s picture

Will it work?

As for the legislation & administration of the program, I don't know.
As for the efficacy of medicinal usage, YES, it does work. Don't believe it? Spend a little time talking to someone who knows firsthand. Crohn's disease has been my companion for 35 years.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Hep C?

Of what benefit is medical marijuana to Hep C patients (which my anecdotal evidence suggests is the #1 disease of our generation)?

talidapali's picture

Hep C is...

sometimes treated with chemotherapy like cancer. I see a lot of Hepatitis patients when I go in for my chemo treatments. Medical Marijuana would help a lot of folks.

Even better would be to decriminalize marijuana or heck...make it legal like cigarettes and tax it and sell it in stores or tobacco outlets and smoke shops. Revenue for the state, less petty criminals in jail, less reason for drug cartels to set up shop here...the benefits of legal marijuana really do outweigh the downside.

"You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White
"I never said I wasn't a brat..." ~ Talidapali

sugarfatpie's picture

Amen to that. Legalize it, and tax it.

Economically, pot legalization is a no brainer.
And if you want to talk about "gateway" drugs, kids are going straight from beer to Meth these days. If kids are going for mind alteration, and lord knows many are, pot would be much better for them than Meth, or beer for that mater. If you've got a problem with that, and personally I do regarding regular use before your 20s, use some of the money we'll save on law enforcement and spend it on drug education and outreach and alternatives like after school programs.

Of course we're just talking about medical marijuana here, but most arguments against it rest on assumptions about the "horrors" of de-facto legalization of pot.

Personally, I'll take loosing your keys over drunk driving any day.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

R. Neal's picture

"Not many stoned drivers cuz

"Not many stoned drivers cuz they never leave home."

And the ones that are pulled over (at least back in my day) are pulled over for driving too slow, not weaving in and out of traffic at 80-90MPH waving their permitted handguns at people.

Bernie Ellis's picture

The use of cannabis for hep C patients

Physicians would be able to prescribe medical cannabis for hepatitis C patients who are undergoing interferon treatment. Medical research conducted outside the US has demonstrated that patients who use cannabis while undergoing interferon treatment are three times more likely to complete that treatment. Cannabis helps mediate some of the painful side effects of interferon treatment. The use of medical cannabis for these patients would be linked to their interferon treatment.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Remember it?

Cheech: "Slow doooown. Slow doooown, man."

Chong: "Sh*t, man, I'm only doin' 7."

Readeratb's picture

Medical marijuana bill

This is a big deal that has gotten very little attention. I may not be here to see it but someday my grandson will say "I wish Mimi were here to see this". Efficacy? Proven! And not just for the aforementioned maladies.

StaceyDiamond's picture


I've been getting emails from for a few years. Its fascinating what's going on.
There's around 13 states where its legal for medical, Mass. and a few others recently made it legal for adults to have a certain amount for personal use.
Medical marijuana got more votes than Obama in Mich. Oakland Calif and Michigan have a school where you can train to run a dispensary. LA has more dispensaries than Starbucks and schools and in Colorado where it just passed there are more requests for dispensary licenses than there are Starbucks in the whole state.
I think there may be a referendum to legalize it completely in Calif in Nov. The mainstream media has picked up on this some but norml has much more info. This is not wacky hippie stuff, it really has picked up in the mainstream.

Virgil Proudfoot's picture

Let's all just smoke dope and be happy

Decriminalized or even legalized marijuana is more likely than single-payer healthcare in the near future.


Because the tobacco companies or other companies who would produce a legal joint would make bundles of money, the crime rate would go down, tax revenues would skyrocket, and, best of all, people would just sit around and do nothing, which would be the best possible outcome for the powers that be. People might be dying of cancer with no health insurance, but at least they could expire with a smile on their face.

michael jacksonM's picture


I have learned from many friends that live in states where they have medical marijuan. I suffer from migraines that will make you sleep on icepacks to basicly numb your head to make it stop. Myself having a low tolerance level can take a couple of hits off my pipe, or bong and it is gone. I am able to live a some what normal life considering I am legally blind from a stroke, but compared to the meds I was taken, I choose it. One of the meds I took for 5 years attacks my kidneys, the other my liver. I was giving another a month ago that they claim is supposed to help with them it does nothing but make you sleep. What kind of life is that for anyone? I choose my green any day of the week over the prescriptions I keep being given.

ARae's picture

I couldn't agree more!

I like you suffer from severe migraines, as well as chronic pain of the neck & back, arthritis in both knees & nerve damage in legs, and severe anxiety! I've tried a number of medications for all my conditions & I HATE that NOTHING works & all the money that ALL the different medications cost! But marijuana seems to take care of all the issues. I don't understand why our government is SO against the medical use that this natural herb. Hopefully TN will truly consider passing the law to legalize medical use in our state! I can't tell you how many people I know that benefit from medicinal use of this drug. It reminds me of a Montel Williams Show about his use & other peope who use marijuana to get through their everyday lives! Just watching that show is reason enough for EVERY state to want to legalize it! JUST DO IT TN, I truly think this would be a HUGE way to save money on people being arrested & jailed for just simply trying to get the same relief from their illness than all the people who are addicted to pain pills & other prescription drugs! Come on man-made vs. natural... No brainer to me!

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

Less than a snowball's chance...

When the state legislature can't decide if grown adults can be trusted to buy legal alcohol in grocery stores, I seriously doubt the legalization of medical marijuana is going to see the light of day beyond some snickering in a sub-sub-sub-committee meeting.

bobbylife's picture

That's not about trust.

That's about a powerful lobby acting effectively in what it perceives to be its own self-interest. The same kind of thing will happen when (not if) weed gets greenlighted.

I don't share your pessimism about this. Legalizing marijuana is such a no-brainer that it must happen even in TN. Surely. Right?

sugarfatpie's picture

I don't see TNGOP getting

I don't see TNGOP getting behind this for at least another generation, and maybe not even then. Their base is way to Baptist.

If the Dems got control of the legislature and governorship again maybe it'll happen when GA or NC legalize. Right now the states that have legalized are all either western states with a strong anti-fed 'tude or fairly progressive blue states in the northeast or on the west coast.


Eventually though, it will have to happen. Younger voters are very pro legal pot, and their attitudes aren't changing as they age.

StaceyDiamond's picture


I'm not sure what the problem is and why the stigma but Baptists may be part of it. Many drink and smoke as much as anybody but they just won't talk about it.

marytheprez's picture

Yeah, Sugar, you are looking at truth here.

And even though this drug would help thousands of really sick folks, the 'conservative' bunch will never vote for something that will actually HELP anyone.
The drug, THC, was used medically up until Prohibition was repealed in the mid 1930s for the pain of childbirth, for breathing problems and more.
It has never been proven to cause cancer, or any other disease, with occasional social use.
If it were legalized, grown under regulations set by FDA and DOJ, then sold and taxed, then law enforcement could concentrate on violent crimes, save space in the jails and prisons, and the taxes alone would solve State deficits!
Cigarettes and alcohol cause diseases and death.
But you are right, sugar. The right wing would have to answer to the right wing religious.

stayathomemom's picture

I pray that they will pass

I pray that they will pass this bill in Tn. I suffer from anxiety issues and bipolar depression, and all the pills they tried either didn't help or the side effects were too extreme to continue use. My husband turned me back to the green from my youth, and surprise, surprise, it helped! I can go about my day feeling normal. There are times when I smoke more than others, but it has had nothing but a positive impact on my life. I no longer have the mood swings that would confuse my kids. I no longer have days where my anxiety keeps me in the house like a prisoner. When I feel a panic attack start to come on, I don't have to grab a damn pill bottle. Alcohol is WAY more dangerous to society than marijuana. I don't know why there is such a stigma. In the day and age of budget issues, over crowding prison systems, etc., it is a solution that will have far-reaching POSITIVE effects. Get with it!!!

ARae's picture


Amen! All the things you said Stayathomemom is SO true! All the things I didn't say before you just said for me. I was scared to mention the fact about the use & having children. Of course my children have absolutely NO exposure nor do they know, but I love that it gives me that "ME" feeling I need to do all the things that being a mother, wife, & outgoing person needs to have! GET WITH IT TN!

Stormy's picture

Pot in Tennessee

I think it should be passed. You don't see many pot smokers beating their wives or children, or killing soneone in and car accident. Heckmost pot smokers drive under the speed limit not over.

sugarfatpie's picture

Turns out that when the GOP

Turns out that when the GOP asked what people wanted them to do, via their snappy new website, people asked them to legalize pot!
true story

Smitty's picture

Medical Marijuana Bill

@ marytheprez

"And even though this drug would help thousands"

You cannot plant a seed in the ground and grow a drug. Drugs are man made concoctions.

EricLykins's picture

Drugs are man made

Drugs are man made concoctions.

..and this definition does a great job of protecting the interests of drug manufacturers. If it's not a drug, it can't be regulated by the FDA, and if it can't be regulated by the FDA any claims of medicinal effects can't be evaluated by the FDA, and it can't be sold as a drug. If it can't be sold as a drug it can't be marketed as a drug, and few people will ever hear about it. So if someone finds some natural substance on a frog's pecker deep in an Amazonian jungle that eats cancer like cancer eats us, we've regulated ourselves out of a cure.

There are a lot of regulatory obstacles in the food supply if you're not a large manufacturer of anything.

oddfellowmike's picture

Of course

absolutely so this is a no brainer.
you make it to where if you are going to sell something that has a certain drug in it then it must have a priporitory name.
such as some have now like california orange kush (street and legal name) therefor when you but it in a bottle it is not "regulated by the fda" but can still be marketed as such.
Matte of a fact I am uncertain as to why there have not been extracts of thc sold in capsule form just like say "St johns Wort" because if it is an herb then it can be sold after all you arent selling cannibis you are selling a "ailment help pill"

Think tobacco is it not in the same form as marijuana when grown simply a plant that is harvested but it is regulated by the ATF and I would assume (uhoh) that they would be the ones regulating mary as well when she gets legalled.

I also feel that you have most of the drug companies fighting it until they fell that they can "get in on it" then they become pro, same with the cigarette companies.

The rant can go on and on!

Smitty's picture

Drugs are man made

@ EricLykins

"If it can't be sold as a drug it can't be marketed as a drug, and few people will ever hear about it."

Yep, not too many folk ever heard of this here maryjewana.

Many pharmaceuticals contain water. Via your convoluted way of thinking, water must be a drug.

sobi's picture

The medical argument isn't a good back door.

Marijuana shouldn't be legalized for medicinal purposes only. It should be legalized, regulated, taxed, and all the rest, just like alcohol is. Its primary job is the enjoyment of its users. That it can help people with some medical conditions is a great thing, but my fear is that if its first legally-acceptable use is therapeutic, it's got that much more muddy slope to climb before it can be enjoyed in the same way a beer is.

EricLykins's picture

No, the FDA's conclusion

No, the FDA's conclusion would be that water, being a natural substance, is not a drug therefore could not be marketed as having any medicinal properties. The regulatory convolutions differ from substance to substance. If cannabis were not a controlled substance for example, it could be marketed as snake oil, er, dietary supplement such as colloidal silver, etc. Foods and dietary supplements can make health claims, nutrient content claims, and structure/function claims, but they cannot claim any medicinal properties because they are not "drugs."

If you could plant a seed and grow a drug, who would patent it and make money from it? If a natural substance were found today that cured cancer (as of yet undiscovered leaf or root X, let's say), a chemical compound would have to be synthesized from it, patented, approved, regulated, etc before it came into the mainstream market, even if the simple ingestion of leaf or root X destroyed cancer cells immediately.

A diet that includes whole grains can help lower cholesterol, but "claims such as Cheerios' 4% message have been prohibited since 1993, as part of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act."

R. Neal's picture

If you could plant a seed and

If you could plant a seed and grow a drug, who would patent it and make money from it?

Monsanto? After they genetically re-engineered it and patented the genes of course. :)

EricLykins's picture

Not trying to be a smartass,

Not trying to be a smartass, but I think it would still be a food or dietary supplement, although I would be in favor of taking it off the controlled substance list and letting Monsanto get it's genetic engineer on!

mike parks's picture

If I had medical marijuana. I

If I had medical marijuana. I could return to work. But mean while im suffering and every one around me has to pitch in and help me out. I suffer from brain injurys and I have tried every medication you can think of and nothing works! Except marijuana which.I tried years back. I have been waiting so long and suffering day in and day out. You can only Imaging how many people cant go to work and hold a steady job in this country. Because they cant get the right medication and it would be less expensive to give them medical marijuana than almost every psychiatric drug on the market. Which our governtment is flushing money down the drain to provide.And from my own experiance made me worse than I was.

mad arab's picture

Tennessee brought Lottery to

Tennessee brought Lottery to its people and Lottery is gambling I've met quite a few preachers in my time that will tell you gambling is a sin .But to deny a natural remedy to people in need ,over man made garbage with a list of side effects and side effects of the unknowing. With a price tag that could be putting them into a decent home and food on their table makes no since.And the lack of knowledge our medical system has is from the cold drug war that we live in .The marijuana Law it self claims lives Good honest hard working lives not the drug !But the Law it puts sick people in jeopardy it ruins families takes from loved ones .And do Consider anyone that upholds that Law a murderer .They have blood on their hands over what a natural plant while Corporations corrupt our governments . with the trillions of dollars they take in and dish out over man made garbage. and it makes you realize maybe that is why every thing we see laying around us is made in China when you taking also Inspiration from the people and the will to work.So all you politicians go drink your red wine ,your beers while the big game is on tvsmoke your 14 dollar cigar and try to forget about all of the murder and chaos that is going on 10 blocks away from your home and swallow your Ambian so you can fall asleep fast and not have to worry about the sick and dying and suffering in this country.

Moral grey areas's picture

To the doctors

To the doctors:

Who may or may not be, prescribing this medical marijuana.. As some of you doctors may well know, when prescribing this stuff its at best a crap shoot.... I myself have been searching for the "perfect" strain for 16 years, and its been a hit or miss thing every step of the way, It seemed like every time I thought i knew which strains were helping, I'd spend the next month in pain because I bought the wrong kind... So here's what you might try, this is an issue that has hurt me for quite sometime. I've taken allot of criticism over my strain theorys, but see what you think about this solution... And if any of you patients want to chime in and confirm this works, it would be appreciated.... Here's is the thing I've been failing to realize for all them years, in terms of reality nothing in life is perfect, in fact nothing in life is even close to perfect unless you try. So, here's what I've been doing to remedy the situation. Rather than continue wasting more time on this issue, what I've done was combine a few of the strains that help me best in a tincture. I take 3 droppers in the am, and 3 at bed time. And I vaporize something that's beneficial in several areas, like OG kush within the first hour I'm awake. This has been working for me for the last three months, mornings are a little shaky because my THC level drops. But I hope to remedy this with some homemade coco canna caps and maybe remove the tincture from my routine.

Moral grey areas's picture

Here's what I don't understand

Why isn't Tennessee taking full advantage of the situation? Why aren't we legalizing it for industrial use also, I thought Tennessee was suppose to be a Ecofriendly state.. Go green.. Aren't we being kind of hypocritical here? Wouldn't it make more sense to allow every farmer to grow it for fuel, clothes etc... Think of the positive effects it will have on our environment.... The industrial stuff don't even need to be nowhere near pharmaceutical grade.

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