Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam took the plunge on Monday, signing the state’s cannabis oil bill into law, and for some, it can’t come soon enough. Governor Haslam previously opposed the bill, which passed unanimously through both the House and Senate last month, and the bill had been waiting for the governor’s approval ever since.
Patients watched with bated breath to see if their governor would uphold Senate Bill 280, which redefines “marijuana” to create an exemption for low-THC cannabis oil and allows access to those with certain medical conditions.
One of the major criticisms of the law is that in order to qualify for legal protection, you must obtain the low-THC cannabis oil legally in the United States, but not in Tennessee, as the law does not outline a system in-state for producing or dispensing the extract to patients. The cannabis oil may contain no more than 0.9% THC, and patients may face a Class C misdemeanor for possession of unlabeled cannabis oil, or without proof that it was legally obtained.
State Senators Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) and Representative Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) also introduced a more comprehensive medical marijuana bill late in this legislative session. The bill would set up a framework for seeds, distribution, and manufacturing of medical marijuana, but Governor Haslam said that he was reluctant to go further into medical marijuana at this time.
Now that the law has been signed, it goes into effect immediately. It’s certainly a start for Tennessee patients — here’s hoping the state adopts less restrictive guidelines in the near future.