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New Hope for Epileptic Children in Tennessee Through Cannabis Oil, HB0197

Tennessee has just unanimously approved medical cannabis house bill HB0197 on Monday night which would allow for persons diagnosed with epilepsy to possess cannabis oil containing cannabidiol (CBD) in an amount less than 0.9% THC.

Tennessee law had previously excluded this specific cannabis oil composition from their definition of “marijuana” in order to allow clinical research studies into intractable seizures to take place. But this bill will allow any person with epilepsy in Tennessee to possess cannabis oil from other states without being guilty of a class C misdemeanor, provided it meets the following criteria:

(1) The bottle containing the oil is labeled by the manufacturer as containing cannabidiol (CBD) in an amount less than 0.9 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol; and
(2) The person in possession of the oil retains:
(A) Proof of the legal order or recommendation from the issuing state; and
(B) Proof that the person or the person’s immediate family member has been diagnosed with intractable seizures (epilepsy) by a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine who is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Tennessee;

Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, who is sponsoring the bill recently stated: “For close to a decade we demonized a plant… We are in the early stages in America and in Tennessee in understanding there may be some benefits in this plant.”

Advocates point out that the oil is not addictive, and has extremely low levels of THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana) and cannot be smoked. Some house members would still like to see the bill applied to a wider range of applications.

“Today we have the power to make a real change. These people are suffering, this medication works and is safe,” said Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville.

The Senate passed the bill passed with a unanimous 26-0 vote, and the House of Representative approved the proposal shortly after with a 95 to 0 vote. The measure will now be sent to Governor Bill Haslam for consideration, and if approved, will take effect immediately.

– Mason Godric

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