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Marijuana legally grown, processed and given for treatment at the recommendation of a doctor in Tennessee could become a reality if lawmakers approve a new Republican-led initiative.
The chances of changing current law aren't fantastic: Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, put the odds of the General Assembly approving his limited medical marijuana plan this year at "50-50, plus or minus 5 percent." The anesthesiologist argues the science behind the need for medical cannabis oil is more concrete.
"The data is improving every day. I've read 50, 60 papers and abstracts, and it looks like 60 percent plus of those have some sort of beneficial effect," Dickerson said.
Dickerson considers the approach he's taking with Rep. Ryan Williams, R-Cookeville, as targeted. The bill goes further than a cannabis oil bill sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, but stops short of Nashville Democratic Rep. Sherry Jones' medical marijuana bill.
The proposal would allow a very specific type of medicinal marijuana oil that is low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes marijuana popular for people who want to get high. The oil could be ingested, used through a skin cream or potentially inhaled using a nebulizer, Dickerson said.
A person would have to receive a recommendation from a doctor — it's listed as a Schedule I drug federally, which means it can't be prescribed like other medicine — and take it to a dispensary, which would use oil that comes from plants grown and processed in Tennessee.
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