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After years of failure, legislation that would make one form of medical cannabis legal is moving through the state House of Representatives, after a panel voted narrowly Tuesday to push the issue forward.
It was a major leap for state lawmakers, but the measure still has a long road ahead before becoming law.
House Bill 1749 was approved by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee after a 90-minute debate that featured testimony from prosecutors, law enforcement and health officials — all aligned against medical marijuana — as well a few people who testified in favor of the proposal, often on behalf of loved ones who might benefit.
The measure’s sponsor, East Tennessee Republican Jeremy Faison, stood by. For four years, he’s pushed for medical cannabis. The hurdle has always been people who fear it’ll eventually lead to full legalization.
“This has nothing to de-stigmatizing marijuana,” he said. “This has everything to do with some sick people who can greatly benefit from this plant.”
The testimony left the panel evenly divided — a