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Tennessee House lawmakers advance medical marijuana bill

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize medical marijuana for a select few medical conditions.

Bill would legalize some forms of cannabis for limited medicinal purposes

A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee in a limited set of circumstances was recently advanced by a House subcommittee, according to the Daily News Journal. The bill would allow people suffering from a certain number of serious or terminal conditions to use marijuana in pill or patch form. If the bill is passed, Tennessee will join a long list of states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana use in some way, although the continuing existence of federal prohibitions means the future of marijuana laws remains unclear.

Medical marijuana bill

The bill would allow doctors in Tennessee to write prescriptions for medical marijuana that would come in the form of patches or pills. The conditions eligible for medical marijuana would include some stages of cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and some types of epilepsy. According to The Tennessean, a push to include post-traumatic stress disorder as one of the approved conditions failed to make to succeed.

The bill would mean that under state law people possessing marijuana in legalized forms would no longer be charged with possession. The lawmakers behind the bill, however, insist that they have no plans to fully legalize marijuana use in Tennessee, noting that the bill does not legalize the smoking of marijuana nor marijuana for recreational uses.

Federal and state policies

Over half of all states have already legalized some forms of marijuana or are currently considering measures to do so. Most of those states have legalized medical marijuana for the treatment of severe medical conditions, especially seizures among epilepsy sufferers. A select few, such as Colorado and Alaska, have gone further by legalizing the drug for recreational use.

However, experts point out that federal law still considers marijuana, including medical marijuana, to be an illegal substance. Although the current U.S. Department of Justice administration has promised not to prosecute people who use marijuana legally according to respective state laws, the legal situation remains very much uncertain with federal and state laws increasingly diverging. In fact, marijuana legalization advocates note that a new federal administration could easily change the current policy and start prosecuting citizens for marijuana possession, regardless of individual state legalization efforts.

Drug defense

The increasingly complex nature of drug laws both in Tennessee and across the nation should serve as a reminder of why legal representation is so important when faced with a drug crime. Being charged with a drug offense can leave a defendant facing an uncertain and sometimes grim future. An experienced criminal defense attorney, however, can provide defendants with expert advice about how to handle such accusations in a way that will best help protect their rights, freedom, and future.

Keywords: drug charge, drug crime, marijuana

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