Tenn. lawmaker proposes medical marijuana bill

POSTED: 11:58 AM Jan 20 2014   UPDATED: 4:04 PM Jan 20 2014
TN CAPITOL
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV-AP) -

State lawmakers have reconvened the 108th Tennessee General Assembly in a legislative session that is expected to feature debates over creating a school voucher program and whether to allow supermarkets to sell wine.

House and Senate speakers gaveled in around noon on Tuesday for a session they are hoping to wrap up as quickly as possible so lawmakers can focus on their re-election bids. All 99 House seats are up for re-election this year, along with 17 of 33 seats in the Senate.

But lawmakers will first have to approve the state's $33 billion annual spending plan amid flagging state revenues. Through the first five months of the current budget year, general fund revenues were running $175 million below expectations.

The state constitution requires lawmakers to pass a balanced budget.

And while there's plenty on the plate, one longshot proposal already has a lot of people buzzing.

State Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, has introduced a bill that would allow people to get marijuana for a variety of medical issues - everything from seizures to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Jones said the bill spells out a process for marijuana growth and distribution, and it explains how medical personnel would card patients.

While some worry it will cause a drug problem, Jones is adamant this will only help.

"It's better to use the cannabis than to get hooked on Oxycontin," Jones said.

When asked if she thinks it will pass, Jones said she didn't know.

If it doesn't, she says she plans to keep bringing it up every year until it does.

Poll results: Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana?

poll-results

Click here to read more about the poll.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.