state capitol

Tennessee lawmakers agreed this week to add quadriplegia to a list of conditions that qualify certain patients for limited access to cannabis. 

Senate Bill 1877 passed with bipartisan support on the Senate floor Wednesday and in the House on Monday. 

The Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill in 2021 that gave patients with Alzheimer’s, certain types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and a handful of other conditions permission to obtain 0.9-percent THC oil from other states. The legislation passed this week adds quadriplegia to the list. 

The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Darren Jernigan (D-Nashville). 

“This is a small step moving forward on cannabis legislation,” Jernigan, who uses a wheelchair, said in an email. “Adding quadriplegia to the list of eligible diagnoses will relieve pain and suffering for those dealing with the effects and the paralysis involved with this condition.”

Jeff Strand, spokesperson for the Tennessee Disability Coalition, released a statement on behalf of the organization.  

“This legislation could provide enormous benefit to individuals with quadriplegia for whom other treatments have not been successful,” he said. “Reducing pain and suffering among Tennesseans is always good policy-making. … By expanding the scope of treatments that doctors, patients and their families are able to access, we can reduce burdensome obstacles to care for people with disabilities, illnesses or other health needs. This legislation is a good start toward improving access to care for all Tennesseans.”