A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee cleared a major hurdle on Wednesday, passing out of a state Senate committee. But that step forward may be accompanied by a step backwards, as the panel tacked on an amendment to the legislation that would almost certainly lead to a significant delay of its implementation .
In what was described as a “last-minute amendment” by local television station WTVF, the bill would only take effect if marijuana were reclassified on the federal level, which still bans cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. The amendment, according to The Tennessean, was added by Republican state Sen. Bo Watson. The bill will now move to the Senate Government Operations Committee for debate.
A separate medical cannabis measure was introduced in the state House of Representatives last week. That bill, known as the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act, would open the door for patients to with at least one qualifying medical condition to obtain a prescription for medical marijuana. The qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy
HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, muscular sclerosis, opioid addiction, renal failure, severe nausea or chronic pain, among several others.
That legislation would also establish a so-called Medical Cannabis Commission, which would be