Lawmakers in Tennessee unanimously passed a bill Monday allowing the limited use of cannabis by medical patients suffering from seizures, WATE-TV, Knoxville, Tennessee, reported. The law, headed to the governor’s desk for signing, would allow someone diagnosed with epilepsy or other types of seizures to use cannabis oil, including children suffering from infantile spasms.
"Today we have the power to make a real change,” said State Sen. Becky Massey, a Republican from Knoxville, according to the Tennessean. “These people are suffering. This medication works and is safe.” The Senate voted 26-0 to pass the bill. The House followed suit just minutes later, voting 95-0. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a law last year giving researchers the greenlight to study the benefits of cannabis oil in clinical tests. It allowed marijuana to be cultivated in Tennessee for the purposes of research.
The bill, introduced by Republican State Rep. Jeremy Faison, would exclude cannabis oil from being included under definitions of “marijuana,” a Schedule 1 drug that remains illegal at the federal level. Cannabis oil, sometimes called CBD oil -- a shorthand for cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive ingredient in cannabis commonly cited as the source of marijuana’s medical benefits -- is a derivative of the marijuana plant commonly used to treat children with severe epilepsy. It remains illegal under U.S. law; however, more states are moving toward allowing its use.
According to Tennessee’s bill, any cannabis oil prescribed in the state must contain less than 0.9 percent THC, the compound in marijuana that produces a high. “The cannabis oil must have been obtained legally in the United States and outside of this state, [and] the person must retain proof of the legal order or recommendation from the issuing state,” the bill reads.
The cannabis oil bill that passed Monday in Tennessee differed from a bill introduced earlier this year that would legalize marijuana for limited medical purposes. The bill, which probably won’t be debated until next year, would create a system for marijuana to be grown, processed and consumed for use by some medical patients, WBIR-TV, Knoxville, reported.