January 8, 2014
Marijuana Legalization: Tennessee Legal Weed Bill Follows Florida For Medical Pot

When it comes to marijuana legalization, Tennessee probably isn't the first state you'd think of when it comes to legal weed. But a medical pot bill is on its way as we speak.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, New York will open medical marijuana dispensaries in certain hospitals, and a Florida petition is trying to get pot legalization on the 2014 ballot.

Interestingly enough, Tennessee has a history of legal weed. Back in the 1980s, medical marijuana was available by prescription, but the law was eventually repealed. Attempts to revive the original law died on the vine, so to speak, with the last attempt failing in 2012. So Tennessee Representative Sherry Jones felt it was time to create a new marijuana legalization bill called HB1385:

"It's just simply a matter of being rational and compassionate. It would apply to only the most severely debilitated people... children suffering a hundred (epileptic) seizures a day, people on chemotherapy, people with multiple sclerosis... people with a plethora of diseases."
Similar to the proposed Florida marijuana ballot question, HB1385 limits legal weed for medical purposes, and also specifically mentions a list of health conditions that would qualify. Critics of Florida's pot efforts point out the wording leaves the possibility open for people to purchase legal weed for any reason. So it's possible the National Organization for Marijuana Legalization in Tennessee may face similar resistance from legislators.

Reports claim Tennesseans must either "leave the state to get marijuana or make their purchases illegally." If they are leaving the state, it's likely to travel to Colorado, where stores are already running low on cannabis and are being forced to ration how much they sell to each customer. Mike Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, says people should be patient:

"It's frustrating that we're dealing with the shortage and things aren't moving faster, but this is very much in line with what we'd been calling for, which is this slow controlled growth. It's going slower than a lot of people would like, but I think it shows we're on a strong path forward."
Overall, the legalized pot market could generate $10.2 billion in sales over the next five years. And if Tennessee and Florida join the rush toward marijuana legalization, then the sales of legal weed could skyrocket even further.