Harwell breaks tie, advances medical marijuana bill

House Speaker Beth Harwell speaks at a gubernatorial forum in Nashville on Feb. 27, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell has stepped in to advance medical marijuana legislation in legislature. As House speaker the Nashville Republican has the power to vote in any of the chamber’s committees, and when the Civil Criminal Justice Subcommittee was deadlocked 3-3 on the bill, she cast the deciding vote keep the bill moving.

Harwell had earlier signed on as a co-sponsor of the measure dubbed the Medical Cannabis Only Act. The main sponsors are Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville).

“I am in favor of this legislation, which does not allow for the smoking of medical marijuana — I am not in favor of that approach,” Harwell said in a release announcing her co-sponsorship of the bill. “However, the federal government continues to be a roadblock for legitimate research or medical uses of medical cannabis, but other states have enacted laws to help patients, and Tennessee should do the same.”

Another co-sponsor is Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro), the chairman of the House Health Subcommittee.

“The inaction and hypocritical stance at the federal level puts many patients in a bind and hinders medical research and treatment. States need to stand up for patients,” said Terry, a physician.

Note: Voting with Harwell for the bill were  Reps. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Tilman Goins (R-Morristown) and Sherry Jones (D-Nashville). Voting no were Reps. Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) and Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough).

 

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