Some lawmakers are backing a bill to legalize cannabis oil for medicinal purposes in the state of Tennessee.
A medical marijuana task force was formed earlier this year to study the topic of medical marijuana and then make a recommendation to be presented to the general assembly.
The co-chair of the task force, state Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, is confident their bill will pass once it hits the table, but critics are urging a "no" vote again on the issue.
"What you need to understand, in Tennessee, the cannabis plant is coming and it's coming to every state in America," Faison said Friday. "We don't want to wait until every state around us has something and then we are trying to build an airplane while we are flying."
Faison said 30 states have already legalized medical marijuana including, most recently, Arkansas, which borders part of Tennessee.
"We as a state need to realize that we have people in Tennessee who will want to be able to legally go across state lines and pick up cannabis for their physical problems," Faison said.
The bill does not include smoking or recreational use.
"We've taken that off the bill and so we are providing sick tennesseans the access to cannabis oil," Faison said.
He said they plan to introduce the bill when the general assembly reconvenes in January.
Critics of medical marijuana like the Metro Drug Coalition point to the lack of scientific research done to prove marijuana has a medicinal purpose.
"There are a lot of anecdotal studies that have been done, but none done by the Food and Drug Administration," said Deborah Crouse with the Metro Drug Coalition.
Crouse said they won't change their opinion unless the FDA does.
"Until the FDA does studies to say yes or no to the medicinal value, we are against supporting that," Crouse said.
Still Faison hopes, come the next legislative session, Tennessee will join more than half the country in legalizing some form of medical marijuana.
"Every state around us is going to have this if we don't get in line and do this correctly," Faison said.