Parents push TN lawmakers to pass medical marijuana bill

(WBIR - Knoxville) Corbin Wright, 11, can't do what most boys his age can do.

Corbin's mother, Ginger, said, "Most 11 year olds you would say go ride your bike. He would choose to go skateboarding down the street, but we can't let him outside at all alone."

That's because in addition to being diagnosed with autism, Corbin suffers from childhood epilepsy, causing him to experience many violent seizures each day.

Ginger Wright said, "It started when he was 1 year old and it started out with a few mild chronic seizures and over the years has progressed and proven on ENG that he has hundreds a day and hundreds a night with no medication."

Over the last 10 years, Corbin has been on more than 15 different medications. On his current medication, Corbin's parents say his seizures have decreased from hundreds a day to just 80 a day. But now they're pushing for a different treatment they hope will work better---marijuana.

Corbin's mother is joining other parents in pushing for House Bill 1385, which would legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee. Knoxville Representative Gloria Johnson (D - TN House District 13) is a co-sponsor for the bill and is convinced it could have helped her own family.

Rep. Johnson said, "My father had MS and he had a horrible pain called trigeminal neuralgia. None of those opioids, those would knock him out, but he would still have the pain. This would actually attack that pain."

So far, 21 states and the District of Columbia have approved medical marijuana uses. Colorado and Washington State have approved it for recreational use. The drug certainly has its opponents in Tennessee. Some are afraid of increased use. But Johnson said the bill is strictly written.

"You would have to have one of 14 illnesses in order to actually get this medical cannabis. A lot of people think it's in smoke-able form. Much of it is done in oils and atomizers. it's not actually smoking," Johnson explained.

Corbin's mother believes the drug will help her 11-year-old son live a normal life.

"He'll soon be an adult and how much is it going to help him as he gets older. He needs it now," Wright said.

House Bill 1385 is scheduled to go before the Health Subcommittee on Tuesday for a vote. If it passes there, it will continue to make it's way through the Tennessee General Assembly. Representative Gloria Johnson is a member of the subcommittee and says she's voting 'yes'.

To read House Bill 1385 go to


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