Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Medical marijuana fails but Steve Dickerson fought the good fight. Maybe next session.

In case you missed it
GOP medical marijuana bill delayed until next year

The move to delay action until next year is not a surprise: House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, recently touted aspects of the bill but said it ..

Medical marijuana would help neediest Tennesseans

Steve Dickerson
by Senator Steve Dickerson, The Tennessean, April 6, 2015- Tennesseans are in need.

About one in three Tennesseans will suffer from cancer at some point in their lives and over 30,000 Tennesseans depend on end-of-life palliative care. While medical science is rapidly advancing in both areas, we have a medicine now that could be of great benefit but we are unable to use it.

In numerous studies, extracts derived from cannabis have been shown to have widespread, beneficial impact on these illnesses and a host of others. Among the benefits, these extracts have been shown to decrease nausea, reduce pain and even impair tumor growth. Due to the federal and state laws, however, medications derived from cannabis are in legal limbo.

For several reasons, I am convinced now is the time to give these medications due consideration.

My Comment: I am proud of Steve Dickerson for sponsoring this bill and the support it gained among Republicans. I am disappointing it failed. While it failed, it advanced and will most likely pass next session . Frankly, I think recreational use of marijuana should be decriminalized. It is a relatively harmless drug, much less harmful than alcohol. People on pot do not tend to drive recklessly, commit domestic violence or engage in aggressive behavior. Any substance can be abused but no one overdoses on marijuana. I thing it is criminal that we still send people to prison for possession of small amounts of a relatively harmless substance. 

If Tennessee is not ready to decriminalize recreational use of marijuana however, the prejudice against this drug should not blind us to the medicinal properties. The bills sponsored by Steve Dickerson would have allowed medical marijuana for various ailments.  There is still pending a separate bill that would legalized cannabis oil which has proven successful in preventing seizures in people with  epilepsy. That bill deserves to pass and next session the medical marijuana bill should be passed.

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