State Lawmakers’ Advice on Promoting Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp in Tennessee.

2013-03-05_11-23-39_971The founder of Tennesseans for Medical Cannabis NOW, came to the NORMLTN monthly meeting inviting us to join a group meeting several TN legislators on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 as part of Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Advocacy Day.

Several NORMLTN members jumped at the opportunity and we learned as much as we shared during our 15-30 minute appointment with each legislator. What I learned, is it’s not that hard to make a face-to-face appointment with your representative, share info about medical marijuana (MMJ) and ask for advice on how to move the issue forward.

Some legislators were knowledgeable and also curious about laws and statistics from medical marijuana friendly states. Others were willing to hear our stories about extreme prison time for medical use and relief for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and other medical disorders.

Most were willing to offer ideas for our cause but cautious about having their names or photos in this blog. One representative said every two years he faces re-election and getting behind an unpopular issue could end his legislative career. “You’ve got to change the views of constituents back home, and get the 130 Baptist churches in our district on your side,” he said. Others said to overcome marijuana’s stigma with a grass roots effort.

“You got to have guts to step out and speak up.” – TN Rep. Sherry Jones.

Our hero Legislator for the day was Rep. Sherry Jones, who is in support of MMJ. “Have people call their members, tell them you live in their district, give your address and tell them about your physical problems and how MMJ helps,” she said. “You got to have guts to step out and speak up.” She also advised meeting with your representative, “Members are looking for letters, and families can do it, on behalf of a brother or Uncle Bob, who is ill and benefitting from MMJ.” said Jones. “Send a second letter if you have some new information to share, maybe a new study or information from another state, or even a doctor in their district.” Jones noted many doctors are against smoking marijuana but other techniques are available.

 “Everybody’s got an opinion, but I need the facts.” – Anonymous TN Legislator

Fox 17 News showed up to interview Marilyn Green, our official TV spokesperson for the day. When one rep learned that industrial hemp is used in BMW car door panels, he said, “If you can get the VW plant in TN behind it, you’ll get some traction.” Other reps asked for statistics and legal examples of how drunk driving stops are made in states with legal marijuana. “I need the facts.” she said. “Everybody’s got an opinion, but I need the facts.”

“It’s all about relationships and working with people.” – Anonymous TN Legislator

“It’s a hard sell,” said another, “and you need to work from the ground up.” A senator said there is one death a week in his district because of Oxycontin, and drugs in general are a problem. He suggested getting a MMJ bill in the health committee as our next step.

“I remember the D.A.R.E. program as a kid in school,” said one legislator, “But they didn’t tell us the difference between various drugs. I think drug education is important.” One representative said warning labels, like, “Do not operate heavy machinery while using,” would be important.

A senator said a Tennessee Medical Association Endorsement would help a lot in this campaign, while another summed it up, “It’s all about relationships and working with people.”

Our productive day at the Statehouse was winding down and before our group disbanded we shared thoughts on the day. “Be very friendly with the secretaries, they really know what’s going on,” and “Thursdays are the best day to come down here,” and “Maybe we should bring every office we visit a home-baked pie.”

“Or brownies” quipped another, “With a sign that says Pot Free”. “Gee, 2013-03-05_10-34-25_486 2013-03-05_12-49-27_519 I don’t know,” said another, “We’re trying to overcome stigmas and stereotypes, aren’t we?”

 

3 Responses to State Lawmakers’ Advice on Promoting Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp in Tennessee.

  • It need to be legalized in Memphis

  • My friend’s mom is the sweetest person I know. Her medical condition has her getting worse every day and she isn’t the person we used to know anymore. Her doctor said that he wished he could prescribe MMJ for her, because the pills are killing her liver and kidneys and she can’t even stay awake long enough to finish a meal. I think that if something is able to help our loved ones in need of something more(that a doctor recommended) that she shouldn’t be afraid to do what might save her life or at least make her remaining time here more pleasant. She refuses to use MMJ because it’s illegal, so she is using that ‘spice’ incense stuff-which isn’t safe either. Please people, have some humanity. It’s not for fun anymore. People need this as much as any other medication. (I don’t do drugs, just FYI)

  • It needs to be Re-legalized entirely, for you cannot regulate anything that remains illegal!

    Penalties for possession of any drug should never be more damaging to the person that the drug itself!

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