Tennessee Approved Medical Marijuana, Included a Poison Pill

The Tennessee Senate passed a medical marijuana bill due to the rising benefits of medical marijuana. However, the bill includes a poison pill.

Sushree Mohanty - Author

Mar. 12 2020, Published 12:59 p.m. ET

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Marijuana laws are pretty strict in Tennessee just like Texas. All forms of marijuana are illegal. Recently, the Tennessee Senate passed a medical marijuana bill due to the rising benefits of medical marijuana. However, the bill includes a poison pill. By “poison pill,” I’m referring to the last-minute amendment made to the bill. Let’s look at what’s happening in Tennessee regarding marijuana legalization.

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Tennessee approved medical marijuana

On Wednesday, a Marijuana Moment article stated that the Tennessee Senate committee approved a medical marijuana legalization bill. Senate member Steve Dickerson introduced the bill, which the committee approved with a vote of 6 to 3.  Despite widespread support for legalization, the state struggled to legalize medical marijuana. A Vanderbilt poll in 2017 showed that around 80% of the people in Tennessee supported medical marijuana legalization. Many patients and advocates presented a case before the committee to support cannabis legalization. They discussed how medical marijuana helped them when traditional medicine failed.

If the bill becomes a law, it will allow patients to access legal medical cannabis in all forms. However, sales of cannabis flowers and edibles aren’t allowed. The bill will also ensure the formation of the Clinical Cannabis Commission. The commission will be responsible for issuing licenses to marijuana businesses and giving marijuana recommendations to patients.

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What’s the poison pill?

Generally, Republicans don’t support marijuana legalization. Many states that have attempted to legalize any form of cannabis have faced some kind of hurdle from Republicans. For any bill to become law in the US, it has to pass through both the House and the Senate. While the House is dominated by Democrats, the Senate is dominated by Republicans. As a result, most of the cannabis-related bills get stuck in the Senate.

Even though the Senate passed the medical legalization bill in Tennessee, another Republican made an amendment. The amendment specifies that the state will only legalize medical cannabis after the federal government reclassifies it from a Schedule 1 drug. As a result, the bill has a poison pill. Including the amendment doesn’t make any sense. We don’t know when the government will make marijuana legal at the federal level. Therefore, including the provision is indirectly keeping marijuana illegal.

Earlier, Steve Dickerson attempted to legalize cannabis but failed. He isn’t very happy with the provision.

The bill will move forward to the Senate Government Operations Committee for additional debate. The Government Operations Committee members have to decide on the added amendment. They can choose to ignore the provisions, which would legalize medical cannabis in Tennessee soon.

Cannabis stocks

The CDC has canceled large gatherings, events, and conferences due to the coronavirus scare, which could hinder legalization measures in US states. Also, the coronavirus impacted presidential candidates’ cannabis campaigns. Cannabis companies fell hard on Monday along with the stock market due to the COVID-19 scare. The coronavirus might not have a direct impact on the cannabis industry. However, the coronavirus has impacted marijuana stocks in the short term. Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), Cronos Group, and Hexo (TSE:HEXO) fell by 12.4%, 5.8%, 0.73%, and 3.8% on Monday. Meanwhile, Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), Aphria (NYSE:APHA), and OrganiGram fell by 9.5%, 8.1%, and 7.5%, respectively.

Amid the chaos, would you consider investing in cannabis stocks this month? Read Are Marijuana Stocks a Good Investment in March? to learn more.


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