Tennessee: Governor Signs Narrow Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill into Law

Republican Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed legislation into law, Senate Bill 118, which slightly expands the state’s limited low-THC medical cannabis access law.

Under the new law, qualifying patients will be allowed to use and possess medical cannabis products containing no more than 0.9 percent THC. The law does not provide for in-state production of these products.

The measure expands the list of qualifying medical conditions, which previously only included those with intractable epilepsy, to include those with Alzheimer’s disease; ALS; Cancer, when such disease is diagnosed as end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness, recalcitrant nausea and vomiting, or pain; Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; Epilepsy or seizures; Multiple sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); and Sickle cell disease.

The new law also establishes a nine member commission to study “federal and state laws regarding medical cannabis” and advise lawmakers on “legislation to establish an effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program in this state upon the rescheduling or descheduling of marijuana from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances.” The commission must issue a report to lawmakers by January 2022.

The legislation makes it clear that a medical marijuana program may not operate in Tennessee until marijuana is “removed from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”

The new law takes effect immediately.