History is repeating in Tennessee, where for the third consecutive year Republican state Sen. Steve Dickerson has tabled a bill to carve out medical cannabis protections for patients with debilitating conditions. On Wednesday, Dickerson told a senate committee that he would propose a new version of the bill in 2020. Lawmakers in Tennessee, one of the few remaining states where cannabis is fully illegal, are still considering a pair of decriminalization bills. But any progress on medical legalization or affirmative defense protections will have to wait until next year.
Republican Medical Marijuana Bill Fails for Third Straight Year
Republican Steve Dickerson, an anesthesiologist by trade who represents Nashville in the Tennessee Senate, is still struggling to put together enough votes to pass his medical cannabis bills. Over the past few years, Sen. Dickerson has proposed a few different versions of the legislation.
In 2017, there was the Medical Cannabis Only Act. When that bill bit the dust, Dickerson vowed to continue the fight, saying he considered its rejection “the first day of the campaign to get medical cannabis passed in 2019.”
Then, in 2018, Dickerson and Republican state Rep Bryan Terry announced the Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants Act, or TRUMP Act. The TRUMP Act, so named to help garner support in beet red, pro-Trump Tennessee, was similar in many ways to Dickerson’s 2017 legislation, and it suffered the same fate. Dickerson couldn’t muster enough votes.
And on Wednesday, Dickerson announced that 2019 would in fact not be the year for his medical cannabis bill, either. This comes despite the fact that the 2019 proposal was Dickerson’s most comprehensive bill yet. He says he’ll propose it again in 2020.