A number of Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have thrown their support behind legalizing marijuana but only for medical use, reported the Tennessean Wednesday. The GOP leaders put forth a bill that would allow legal medical weed, but they also made certain to stress this was not a slippery slope to legal recreational use of pot in the state.

The new legalization effort is being spearheaded by State Rep. Jeremy Faison and State Sen. Steve Dickerson. Surrounded by retired police officers, they introduced the bill that could prove controversial.

The state legislatures in Tennessee are GOP-controlled. Despite the support from Faison and Dickerson, legalizing medical marijuana could be a long battle. A bill supported by Dickerson last year failed to gain any real support. However, he's hopeful this time around.

"Having now gone through this for a second time, I find the conversations to be much easier," Dickerson said, according to Nashville Public Radio. "I find the resistance to be diminishing."

He said the bill, as it's currently written, is purposefully very limited in scope. Only those patients with specific conditions such as cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease or PTSD epilepsy would be allowed to get a marijuana prescription.

The bill would allow 50 growing operations in Tennessee, including 15 in "economically distressed areas," the Associated Press reported. Licensing would fall to the state's agriculture, safety and health departments. Each agency would come up with its own rules and the costs associated with licensing. Patients would buy $35 medical cards to access medical marijuana, which would be given out only by medical practitioners who have obtained a special license. The revenue from medical marijuana would then be used to fund drug training for law enforcement, education, disability services and the state's executive branch.

While 28 states have allowed for some form of legal medical marijuana, it's expected the Tennessee legislation will face opposition from a number of GOP lawmakers, including the House Majority Leader, State Rep. Glen Casada, reported the Tennessean. But Dickerson has said he thinks he can convince his fellow Republicans.

"At its heart, I really do think this is a very Republican, conservative bill," Dickerson said, according to the Tennessean. "I know that's a little counterintuitive, but it gets the government out of our lives."

Dickerson is a doctor and stressed that it would be used as a medicine for folks who need it. "What this bill is not is opening the door to recreational use; this is not a bill that will allow people to get high on the streets," Dickerson said, via the Tennessean. "This is, however, a bill that would bring a necessary medicine to some of the sickest and most critically ill Tennesseans."

California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all recently legalized in full the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and Washington, D.C.