Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) is “high” on herself as the only gubernatorial candidate who wants to legalize medical marijuana which she usually refers to as “cannabis” as a way to make non-smokers believe she isn’t really talking about weed – known by some as mary jane, pot, ganja reefer, grass, dona juanita.
She and her supporters may not be rolling out the paper for recreational use just yet, but NORML, the national group which supports “responsible marijuana use” for personal and medical reasons has a mission of changing laws across the country so you can take your pick of how you want to practice being a “responsible marijuana” user:
NORML supports the right of adults to use marijuana responsibly, whether for medical or personal purposes. All penalties, both civil and criminal, should be eliminated for responsible use. Further, to eliminate the crime, corruption and violence associated with any “black market,” a legally regulated market should be established where consumers could buy marijuana in a safe and secure environment.
Well, pot smokers in Oregon are so responsible that they’ve pretty much decimated the medical cannabis market after the state legalized recreational use.
A very interesting tidbit has been revealed by Oregonian Erich Berkovitz who started his own medical marijuana processing company, PharmEx:
“The dispensaries never worked for high dose patients, even in the medical program,” continued Berkovitz. “What worked was people who grew their own and were able to legally process it themselves, or go to a processor who did it at a reasonable rate.”
Doctors in Tennessee, their venture capital buddies and the two legislator-doctors sponsoring the next bill to move Tennessee closer to legalizing medical pot, should pay careful attention to the lessons that can be learned from Oregon and other places around the country where legalizing medical marijuana is having the very outcome central to NORML’s mission – “to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.”
And coming around the corner in Tennessee might well be the same action taken by the Texas Republican Party in June when they endorsed decriminalizing medical and non-medical marijuana in furtherance of criminal justice reform and “more sensible marijuana policies.”
So said Heather Fazio, coalition coordinator for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Lawmakers legalized medical use of low-THC medical cannabis extracts in 2015. During last year’s legislative session, bills to provide more comprehensive medical cannabis access and to decriminalize marijuana got record support from lawmakers and advanced in committees, but the clock on the legislative session ran out before floor votes could occur.
According to Fazio, part of what has motivated Texans is that only certain ill people got to have access to pot to help relieve their systems.
It does seem pretty discriminatory to not allow “responsible” users to find the same relief from symptoms that Harwell is willing to give to the select few she has deemed worthy.
As far-fetched as it may be, should Harwell end up as Tennessee’s first girl governor, she could decide to make everyone “happy.”