How close is Tennessee to legalizing medicinal marijuana?

How close is Tennessee to legalizing medicinal marijuana?

Arkansas is well on the way, and now legislation has been proposed in Nashville to do the exact same thing here in the Volunteer state.

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FOX13 talked to city leaders and surprisingly they are on board with the legislation. We went to City Hall and spoke with the Chairman of the City Council.

We also spoke with the Chairman of the Shelby County Commission. Both men told us they would welcome medicinal marijuana right here in Memphis.

The legalization of medicinal marijuana could be headed to the Volunteer State. State Rep. Jeremy Faison and State Sen. Steve Dickerson are sponsoring legislation to decriminalize the growing, manufacturing, dispensing and use of the cannabis plant for medicinal purposes.

"I think it's a phenomenal move on their part,” said Berlin Boyd, chairman of the Memphis City Council. “..simply because it's actually putting Tennessee in a position to be ahead of many other states that may follow."

Terry Roland, Chairman of the Shelby County Commission agreed, "I know a cancer patient right now that probably wouldn't eat anything if they didn't have the help of this."

The sponsored bill would only make medicinal marijuana legal for patients suffering from certain illnesses such as cancer, MS or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even though the Chairmen agreed with medical uses, they disagreed when Boyd's city council approved decriminalizing marijuana in the Bluff City.

"A lot of people say why didn't you support the local ordinance,” said Roland.  “And the reason I didn’t support the local ordinance is because it was hampering the efforts of the people in Nashville to try to get medicinal marijuana passed."

There is a growing trend around the country with states passing legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana. By the end of this legislative session, Tennessee could be on that path.

"If any other drug comes out that I think can help some of these poor folks from some of these dreaded diseases. I'm going to step up and try to help them," said Roland.

"You know with Memphis and the state of Tennessee being bordered by so many states, it puts us in a very competitive marketplace, and I'm just excited to see where it goes," said Boyd.

When asked if the chairmen thought the possible passage of medicinal marijuana would lead to the possible passage of recreational use here in Tennessee.

That question was stopped in its tracks.

Chairman Boyd reminded FOX13 that we live in the Bible belt.

Chairman Roland told FOX13 this is strictly medicinal for him.