On the last (futile) attempt to legalize medical marijuana in TN

TNReport takes a look at Democratic Rep. Sherry Jones’ final attempt to push her medical marijuana bill — an amendment offered on the House floor during the last days of the legislative session. An excerpt:

The amendment sought to grant ailing Tennesseans the right to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home. Sufferers of serious illnesses like cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s and post-traumatic stress disorder were among those listed who would have qualified under the provision.

“I believe firmly that cannabis helps people, and it helps people that have debilitating pain and disease,” Jones said on the House floor. “I am asking those of you who believe in compassionate care for all people — and you have seen those people up here and you know who they are and you see how they are suffering — to help me pass something to help them. Let’s show a little compassion to some of these people who have been coming up here for years.”

The Republican supermajority however voted en masse to kill the medical marijuana amendment, 73-22. Three Democrats were listed as having not voted.

Criminal Justice Committee Chairman William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, spoke forcefully against the amendment. He said it hadn’t been vetted properly by the chamber’s committee system.

“In Washington, D.C., there are all kinds of different ideas that they toss onto a bill that have nothing to do with that bill — that’s not how we run this chamber,” Lamberth, a former prosecutor from Cottontown, said on the floor.

Lamberth said members of the Criminal Justice committee who voted to to set medical marijuana legalization aside for another year “did not take this issue lightly.” He asserted that Republican lawmakers are “very serious about continuing this discussion,” and suggested Rep. Jones wasn’t prepared to convincingly present her case when the bill came up in subcommittee.