A medical marijuana bill that had the support of the House speaker and was the main remaining vehicle for advancement of cannabis legislation in 2021 failed in a House committee on Tuesday.
The bill, which would have decriminalized possession of limited amounts of medical marijuana obtained legally in other states for some Tennesseans, lost on a 8-9 vote in the House Criminal Justice Committee despite support from the committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Michael Curcio, and Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).
The legislation previously passes in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under the proposed legislation, sponsored by Republicans Rep. Brian Terry and Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, residents with nearly a dozen designated illnesses, including PTSD, HIV/AIDS and certain cancer symptoms could get a letter from their Tennessee-licensed doctor asserting they had the qualifying condition and avoid prosecution on possession charges.
Representatives from law enforcement were opposed to the bill, testifying that it would be complicated to enforce and would put Tennessee law enforcement officials at odds with federal counterparts — that despite the federal government’s longstanding policy to not interfere with state-based medical marijuana programs.