A commission named by the Tennessee legislature to study medical cannabis regulation is struggling to get the attention of the lawmakers who appointed them. The 9-member panel is warning that the state must deal with cannabis, because it’s already everywhere. The cannabis commission issued its first report nearly a year ago outlining how surrounding states were regulating medical marijuana and suggesting specific language for a Tennessee medical marijuana law. It largely fell on deaf ears. The legislation was not seriously debated in committees. And since then, products like delta 8 derived from hemp have proliferated in a largely unregulated market. Regulatory attorney and commissioner member Curtis Harrington said he assumed lawmakers understood how widely available THC is. “We’ve since found out that’s not necessarily the case,” he said at the meeting last week, suggesting the commission might need to use plainer language to alert busy lawmakers with this year’s report. “I don’t know if we want to rip a movie title and call it ‘Clear and Present Danger.’” Aside from hemp products, the federal government is also expected to change the classification on cannabis to treat it more like a pharmaceutical.
“We have got plenty of information to know how to build a program,” pharmacist Ray Marcrom said. “We just need somebody to tell us what kind of program we need. And the bottom line is not doing something just isn’t an option.” The cannabis commission, itself, has had a bit of trouble staying on task. Several members need to be replaced because they haven’t shown up to enough meetings, including Dr. Steve Dickerson. As a state senator, Dickerson was one of the few Republicans who championed medical marijuana. He nominated himself to chair this commission but resigned last week after missing most meetings.