15 December 2016

Here’s what we have managed to dig up about both bills so far , please scroll down for the Kentucky information

Tennessee’s bill, introduced Wednesday by Rep. Jeremy Faison and Sen. Steve Dickerson, both Republicans, would allow medical cannabis to be recommended to patients with various conditions and would provide for up to 50 grow operations

The Tennessean reports some of the bill details


The legislation would allow the use of medical marijuana for Tennesseans with a specific list of medical conditions, including cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures and Alzheimer’s. The Department of Health and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission would be able to add conditions based on doctors’ findings.

The state would generate revenue through licensing by three state departments: Agriculture, Safety and Health. Each department would develop its own rules and pricing for licensing.

The bill would allow for 50 grow operations statewide, the first 15 of which would be in “distressed” areas of the state.

Medical practitioners able to prescribe medication also would have to get a special license to prescribe medical marijuana. Patients would have to get a special $35 medical card to buy doctor-recommended strains of marijuana and would have to use the marijuana in their home, not in a vehicle or in public.

The Department of Safety would oversee transport and security, and the Department of Health would oversee items available in dispensaries.

Each grow house will be required to have security in place, including locks, cameras and security officers. Each grow operation would be allowed to have one dispensary at the grow house and two storefronts, which equates to 150 dispensaries across the state.

Revenue would be distributed across state agencies in the following proposed structure, according to a fact sheet distributed by Faison and Dickerson:

  • 20 percent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (earmarked for “drug intervention”)
  • 10 percent to the Sheriffs’ Association (for “drug training”)
  • 10 percent to the Police Chief Association (for “drug training”)
  • 20 percent to the Department of  Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD)
  • 20 percent to “K12 education”
  • 20 percent to the executive branch, or the governor’s office

Connection to opioids

The measure is part of a push by lawmakers to address an opioid epidemic in Tennessee, where more opioid prescriptions are handed out than there are people. Williams told The Tennessean there will be a “big push” for medical marijuana during the 2017 legislative session to address the epidemic.

Supporters suggest that states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen double-digit decreases in opioid-related deaths, up to 25 percent on average.

Dickerson said that statistic is not one on which to base all supportive arguments, but does hold merit.

“I think there are significant anecdotes and some data that substantiate the proposition that medical cannabis will have a decrease on the consumption of opiates,” Dickerson said.

And Humphrey on the Hill report


Note: An outline of the bill, as prepared by sponsors, is below. It has not yet been filed.

Medical Cannabis Act of 2017 (All forms of the cannabis plant for medical use only)

Decriminalization for the growing, manufacturing, dispensing, and usage of the whole cannabis plant for certain individuals.

  • Affirmative defense for patients and caregivers complying with Act (including those having cards issued by other states)
  • Legal privilege (no crime) for healthcare professionals recommending use
  • Legal privilege for dispensaries and growers complying with Act

Revenues coming from this act, a 5% sales and use tax, will be placed in these categories:

  • 20% TBI specifically ear marked for drug intervention
  • 10% Sheriff Association for drug training
  • 10% Police Chief Association for drug training
  • 20% DIDD community
  • 20% K12 education
  • 20% Veterans Court programs

License will be required from Medical Cannabis Commission (“MCC” – created under Department of Health) – MCC to coordinate and consult with Department of Ag, (DOA) Department of Safety (DOS) and Department of Health (DOH).  The MCC (Dept. of Health) will promulgate rules and pricing for license and safety checks.  Cost of license limited to no more than 20% of actual administrative costs.  MCC is to be centralized authority for Medical Cannabis program.

The Grow – Controlled cannabis cultivation and manufacturing

MCC (through Department of Agriculture) will handle license to grow the cannabis plant.

TN will have 50 Grows.  The license for the first 15 have to be given to businesses located in a distressed county (Tier 4 enhancement county).

Grow will be in a warehouse that has the ability to have security (cameras, locks, security).

Each Grow authorized (but not required) to have up to 3 dispensaries (one dispensary at the grow and 2 additional store fronts).  Grow also authorized to supply third-party dispensaries and not own or run any dispensaries itself.  Grower can be grower only and is not required to have in-house dispensary.

MCC (with collaboration with Department of Safety input) will check for security and will also oversee manufacturing (with collaboration with Department of Health).

“secured facility” not warehouse

The Dispensary – Maximum of 150 dispensaries in state. Store front that is able to sell edibles, vape, oils, patches, creams, smokables, pills, capsules, edibles, etc. as well as paraphernalia.

Dispensary can contract with any grower licensed by the state and is not required to have dedicated in-house grower.

Complete security will be required on all dispensaries.  MCC (in consultation with Dept. of Safety) will oversee transportation and security.

MCC (In consultation with Department of Health) will oversee the items available.

All cannabis products subject to 5% sales tax and submitted to the Department of Revenue.

The Healthcare professional – Individuals currently able to prescribe will be able to get a special license from the MCC/department of health after CME’s have been completed.  MCC/DOH will promulgate rules for requirements for healthcare professionals.  Healthcare professionals will have the ability to recommend to the DOH that a Medical Cannabis card is worthy for patient.

Patient – Patient must have one of the healthcare related problems listed in the law or promulgated by the MCC/DOH.  Patient must get a medical card not to cost more than $35.00 from MCC/DOH at the recommendation of the licensed healthcare professional.

Recommending Physician can give a “recommendation” for medical cannabis, which is used by patient to apply for medical cannabis card.

Patient must use cannabis, in whatever form the doctor recommends, in their own home or other private premises, including campers and RVs.  Medical cannabis cannot be used in the car or in public.  All prohibition laws will apply to a patient who uses anywhere not authorized. 

Conditions covered –  MCC to have advisory board to consider and add eligible conditions based on doctor’s findings, TN Higher Ed findings.  Conditions to be covered by the Act include:

  • Cancer
  • ALS
  • PTSD
  • M.S.
  • Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Intractable Pain
  • Refractory Seizures
  • Seizure Disorder
  • Spasticity
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cerebral Palsy

MCC Advisory Board to have 15-21 members.  Members include 2-3 designees / representatives from Departments of Agriculture, Safety, and Health.  Speakers of Senate and House of Representatives are to appoint at least 3 persons each – health care background, as well as banking and business backgrounds.

Banking – Commissioner of Financial Institutions to promulgate rules

Kentucky’s bill, is  titled the Cannabis Compassion Act and was pre-filed Dec. 6 by Democratic Sen. Perry B. Clark. It’s aim is to  legalize medical marijuana for patients and implement dispensaries, as well as a form of the caregiver model.

Legislature link & bill information at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/14RS/sb43.htm