New cannabis research law gives East TN family hope

Medicinal Marijuana could be one step closer to becoming a reality in Tennessee with the help of a new state law. 5-23-14

Medicinal marijuana could be one step closer to becoming a reality in Tennessee thanks to a new state law.

Governor Haslam recently signed a bill that would allow researchers to study the effects of cannabis oil on seizures.

Families across the country have claimed cannabis oil can put an end to frequent seizures.

One West Knox County family watched the cannabis oil law, each step of the way, as it passed through the Tennessee Statehouse.

The Bush family has a toddler, named Cameron, who suffers from infantile spasms. The condition sometimes gives him multiple seizures a day.

Previous Story: Medical marijuana bill spurs debate in East TN

His family had vigorously pushed for a measure this winter that would have decriminalized medicinal marijuana in Tennessee. That measure failed.

However, the Bush family says the new law that's been proposed is still a victory.

"Getting this started here in Tennessee is more than we could imagine," said Cameron's father Brian Bush.

Under the law, Tennessee Tech University will produce the law on its campus. It will also be charged with providing the oil to other universities in the state who have schools of medicine.

More Information: Read the Law

Qualified doctors at those schools can then conduct clinical research on how the oil affects seizures. After that, the studies' doctors must hand over their findings to the legislature by 2018 to allow lawmakers to come up with their own conclusions on the matter.

"I really felt like this was a good step for Tennessee to do our own study and see if it does do what we hope it will do," said Knox County Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, who was also a co-sponsor to the bill in the Senate.

A Tennessee Tech spokesperson said the university has not selected a date to start making the oil. The spokesperson added that the university has yet to choose a location on their property where they conduct the research too.

Blog: Marijuana Policy Project

A group named the Marijuana Policy Project is skeptical of the law. It doubts the federal government will grant Tennessee permission to move forward with the program.

But, Tennessee Tech says it's "actively exploring the possibility of acquiring the necessary federal permits".


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