Tennessee

Governor Lee keeps distance on Republican medical cannabis bills

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - As four members of his party sponsor bills legalizing medical marijuana or cannabis, Republican Governor Bill Lee says let's "explore alternatives before we go there." 

"Sometimes change is a good thing," said Senator Janice Bowling who along with fellow House Republican Ron Travis is sponsoring what is called the 2019 Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act.  

The pair introduced an updated version of the bill last week to what had been filed earlier in the session.

Bowling began the news conference saying what she would have said if someone told her a year ago that she would sponsor a bill to legalize medical cannabis. 

"I would say you are out of your mind," said the senator who once touted her rural conservative values by calling herself a "pistol-packin' mama" during a congressional run in the early 2000s.  

Governor Lee distanced himself from medical cannabis on the campaign trail and reiterated Friday what he would like to do first instead of legalizing the plant for medicinal purposes. 

"I think we ought to expand the use of low THC CBD oils first to alternative treatments before we go there," said Governor Lee.  

Two doctors who double as Republican state lawmakers also have a proposed a bill with a catchy name. 

The TRUMP Act --Tennesseans responsibly using medicinal plants -- drew attention, but both doctors, Sen. Steve Dickerson, and Rep. Bryan Terry have long held that medical cannabis can help ease dependence on opioids.


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