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Tennessee: Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Through State House


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Republican-sponsored bill that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for some debilitating conditions is making its way through the state House.

The Jackson Sun editorial board was visited last week by supporters of the proposed bill, reports Tyler Whestone.

Only serious medical conditions are covered as the bill is currently written. Patients with terminal cancer, Parkinson's disease, intractable seizures, multiple sclerosis and Hungtington's disease would be able to use medical marijuana if the bill becomes law.

"I dont' know if you have children," said Peden Lea of Memphis, who lost her daughter, Chloe, to a genetic disorder that affected the development of her brain. "It doesn't matter, you know. It should always be the same. There should not be something that stands in the way of any parent having access to anything that could potentially save the life of a child."

Under the bill, the cannabis wouldn't come in smokable form, nor would patients get high from it, according to Erik Williams, a representative of TennCanGrow LLC, a Murfreesboro-based proprietary limited liability company.

Instead, the marijuana would be concentrated into an oil, and used via vaporizer or transdermal patches.

Tennessee: GOP Medical Marijuana Bill: Eat It Or Rub It On, But Don't Smoke It


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tennessee's weirdly Puritan attitude towards cannabis is being highlighted this week by a medical marijuana bill being drawn up by Republican state lawmakers.

Those drafting the legislation said the measure would allow the cannabis to be eaten or applied externally through topical oil, but not smoked, reports Chris Bundgaard at WKRN.

"It would likely be the most conservative medical marijuana bill in the country, and if passed, the nation's most carefully controlled law," bragged Capitol Hill lobbyist David McMahan, who failed to explain what's so damned attractive about "the most conservative medical marijuana bill" rather than "the medical marijuana bill most helpful to patients." McMahan's lobbying firm has been hired to help guide the bill through the GOP-dominated Tennessee Legislature.

McMahan told News 2 he has been hired by a group called Tenncangrow, which is listed as a Murfreesboro LLC and headed by estate planning lawyer David B. Laroche.

The two GOP bill sponsors, Rep. Ryan Williams of Putnam County and Sen. Steve Dickerson, MD of Nashville, said the bill would be "limited" in scope.

McMahan called it a "carefully controlled measure with a limited delivery method." It really is starting to sound as if these folks believe that the fewer patients helped, the better a medical marijuana bill is.

U.S.: National Cannabis Patients Wall Project Reaches 15,000 Patients


A dedicated group of national cannabis activists, advocates and patients has announced their intent to create The National Cannabis Patients Wall -- a major mobile “wall” memorial in support of medical cannabis.

“The National Cannabis Patient's Wall not only signifies our solidarity as patients in need of a safer and effective alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals, but also the barriers we must overcome, our current State and Federal laws, which keep us from the medicine we desire and need," said project founder Dana Arvidson of Tennessee.

"We are thousands of patients that are publicly standing together in solidarity, in support of what should be our right to safe access of medical cannabis therapies," Arvidson said. "We hope this wall be a symbol of hope to cannabis patients and their supporters all over the world.”

Currently the mobile project has produced a Tennessee State "Wall", that has more than 80 patient photos, 88 panels, 1,163 type blocks and a current size of 5 1/2 feet x 82.33 feet. The goal is to produce a 100-foot Wall for each State, to be presented at a major rally in Washington D.C. creating a MILE long wall against prohibition. Then each wall will travel to its respective state to be presented at that state's capital.

You can become a Patient on The National Cannabis Patient's Wall here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_vIKana0v306HD4UBHvcfbm1L6UWu2wStwU_3Qe...

Hippie Leader Stephen Gaskin, Author of 'Cannabis Spirituality,' Dies At 79


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Stephen Gaskin, the tie-dye wearing hippie philosopher who founded The Farm commune in Tennessee and authored books including "Cannabis Spirituality," died Tuesday morning at his home in Summertown, Tennessee after a lengthy illness.

Gaskin, an ex-combat Marine and self-described "hippie priest and freelance rabble rouser," had led a caravan of hippies across the United States in the early 1970s from San Francisco eventually to the hills of Tennessee, where they founded a commune based on utopian ideals. It became one of the world's oldest surviving intentional communities.

"We have been freethinkers for generations," Gaskin wrote of his family. "And, as is provided for in the Constitution, I have passed my philosophical and religious ways on to my children, who are very proud of their heritage and ancestors."

Gaskin's teachings inspired not only those who followed him across the country to found The Farm. His ideas also changed forever the way a generation thought about changing society and making the world a better place in which for us to live.

He spent two years teaching English and creative writing at San Francisco State College after earning his master's in 1964. In 1967, he began an informal philosophy seminar that became the Monday Night Class, in which the hippie guru would discuss religion, politics, sex and drugs.

Tennessee: Governor Signs CBD-Only 'Study' Bill Into Law


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a very limited, CBD-only, medical marijuana "study" bill into law last Friday. Sadly, the bill may not ever result in relief for any patients at all.

Senate Bill 2531 creates a four-year study on the medicinal benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, reports the Marijuana Policy Project. The bill specifies that Vanderbilt University will conduct the study, and Tennessee Tech will theoretically grow the cannabis.

As has been the case with similarly weak "CBD-only" legislation passed in other conservative states recently, the many limitations of the bill mean it won't result in relief for patients; Tennessee hasn't become a "medical marijuana state" by any stretch of the imagination.

The law foolishly depends on the cooperation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in authorizing the cultivation of marijuana in Tennessee for the study; it's as if those who wrote the bill haven't bothered to inform themselves of the fact that the DEA has never authorized anyone except The University of Mississippi to grow cannabis for the past 50 years.

CBD-only laws leave most potential medical marijuana patients to suffer. CBD has been found effective in quelling seizures, but those treating seizure disorders with medical marijuana are only a small percentage of total patients who could benefit from cannabis.

Tennessee: Marijuana Activists Announce 'The Wall' In Support Of Medical Cannabis Act


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

"The Wall," a project in support of the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, has been announced by MMJ for Tennesseans and Tennessee for Medical Marijuana. The wall features names of Tennesseans who need the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, and who support changing the law so that they can have safe access to this medicine, without fear of arrest.

The Wall is an ongoing project; currently, 395 patients are publicly making a stand together in solidarity in support of the bill, "and what should be our right to include medical cannabis therapies in our medical regimes," said activist Dana Arvidson of Nashville, founder of MMJ for Tennesseans.

A recent poll showed that 69 percent of Tennesseans support either cannabis legalization for medicinal use (36 percent) or legalized completely (33 percent), with just 18 percent saying marijuana prohibition should continue, reports Nick Caloway at WKRN-TV.

Many of the patients whose names are on The Wall were heard from, or were represented, in the Koozer-Kuhn Bill presentation last week; these include Piper Koozer, Millie Mattison, Wally Peterson, Toni Woodall Corbin, Seth Green and Kim West Hipps.

Tennessee: Medical Marijuana Bill's Sponsor 'Very Hopeful'


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Past medical marijuana bills have gained little traction in the Tennessee Legislature, and both Democratic sponsors of the last bill, proposed in 2012, lost re-election bids after their districts were redrawn by Republicans. But Rep. Sherry Jones, a Democrat from Nashville, said she is "very hopeful" about her bill's chances this year.

The bill, HB 1385, known as the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, lists conditions from glaucoma to post-traumatic stress disorder as qualifying conditions, and also includes the phrase "any other medical condition or its treatment as certified or prescribed by practitioners and approved by the health department," reports WBIR. Under the bill, which outlines procedures for growing and dispensing marijuana, the program would be named Safe Access.

"This is about compassion," Rep. Jones told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. "It's about giving people better health care, giving them a better quality of life."

The bill is currently in the Tennessee House Government Operations Subcommittee, where it has three votes and needs two more, according to Rep. Jones on Wednesday.

Tennessee: Bill Filed To Legalize Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Democratic lawmaker has filed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee.

"It's just simply a matter of being rational and compassionate," said Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville), who sponsors HB 1385, reports Tom Humphrey at The Knoxville News-Sentinel. "It would apply to only the most severely debilitated people ... children suffering a hundred seizures a day, people on chemotherapy, people with multiple sclerosis ... people with a plethora of diseases."

The Tennessee Legislature passed a bill allowing "marijuana by prescription" under state law in the 1980s, but that bill was unworkable as it required federal permission. Attempts since then have died in legislative committees, most recently in 2012.

But Rep. Jones, along with Doak Patton, president of Tennessee NORML, say times have changed in the state because of the rapidly developing political situation around cannabis.

"This really isn't about marijuana at all," said Patton. "It's about freedom and liberty."

"I think anybody would tell you alcohol is much worse than marijuana," Rep. Jones said. "If you think alcohol should be legal, then you would think that for sure medical marijuana should be legal."

Tennessee: Lawmaker Drafting Bill To Re-Legalize Hemp


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Tennessee lawmaker wants to bring hemp farming back to the Volunteer State, and he's drafting a bill that would do exactly that. State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) said the key to success is educating his colleagues about the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana -- and the economic benefits to farmers.

Hemp is used in the manufacture of plastics, insulation, and paper. Hemp seeds are used to supplement protein and omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids, report Heidi Hall and Adam Tamburin at The Tennessean. Hemp clothes, shoes and purses sell briskly. But growing hemp is illegal in the United States, because lawmakers wrote the marijuana laws to include even low-THC varieties of industrial hemp.

"Their biggest fear is that, if they support hemp, people will think they support marijuana," Sen. Niceley said. "That's a cousin of hemp, but cornbread is a cousin of moonshine."

Republican Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol remains unconvinced. He also bemoans the federal hoops to jump through, with marijuana considered a Schedule I controlled substance, and he claimed farmers in his district are "not clamoring" for it.

Tennessee: Governor's Task Force Wastes Taxpayer Dollars In Annual Marijuana Boondoggle


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

What has the American mainstream press come to? To get the real story behind a "marijuana eradication" article from Tennessee, readers have to go to the comment section.

In a futile, expensive annual boondoggle, National Guard and Highway Patrol helicopters are circling the skies of Tennessee. Are they looking for prison escapees, or perhaps dangerous terrorists? No; they're searching for flowers.

"THP, Alcoholic Beverage Commission, National Guard counter-drug unit work every year to eradicate marijuana, which is a gateway drug," LaFollette Police Chief Jim Jeffries said, demonstrating his inability to complete even one sentence about cannabis without lying. (The so-called Gateway Theory was scientifically disproven years ago.)

Tennessee, you see, has a Governor's Task Force on Marijuana Eradication comprised of several law enforcement agencies, reports Stephanie Beecken of 6 News. For several months each year, law enforcement officials search the state for marijuana plants; they are currently focused on East Tennessee, where much of the state's cannabis crop is grown

U.S.: Conservatives Lead New Congressional Push To End War On Marijuana

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new push in Congress to end the federal War On Marijuana is being led by some of the most conservative members of the Republican conference.

The "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act," introduced in the House last week, would protect anyone acting legally under state marijuana laws from federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act, reports Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone. The legislation would cover both medical marijuana laws and overall legalization in states like Colorado and Washington, where voters last fall decided to make cannabis legal for adults 21 and older.

Poll data released last week from Pew Research found that 60 percent of Americans believe the federal government should allow states to decide for themselves when it comes to the marijuana laws. The same poll found that 57 percent of Republicans also favor the same approach, "which may explain why this bill is attracting arch-conservative backers in the House," according to Rolling Stone.

The three conservative GOP cosponsors of the "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act" are:

Tennessee: Scientist's Fight for Medical Marijuana

By Amy Chillag, CNN Segment Producer
Filed under: CNN Newsroom, Tony Harris

Scientist's Fight for Medical Marijuana Bernie Ellis is a public health scientist who grew marijuana on his farm in Tennessee to help dull the pain from Fibromyalgia and degenerative disorder in his hip and spine.

That's until the federal government raided the farm– and sent him to jail. Now he's fighting back to get medical marijuana legalized in his home state. Tony Harris has this story.

Source: http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/14/scientists-fight-for-medical-ma...

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