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Families Of Sick Children Ask To Bring Cannabis Oil Into Tennessee

Chas Sisk

Tennessee lawmakers are reopening the debate on medical marijuana for the year by taking on a bill that would allow one form – low-potency cannabis oil. Backers say the oil holds promise for treating kids who suffer from devastating seizures.

Gail Grauer’s granddaughter Chloe died shortly before Christmas from a neurological brain disorder. In a life that lasted barely three years, she suffered 75,000 seizures – many of which, Grauer believes, could have been prevented.

“When people say time is of the essence, that’s not just a slogan.”

Grauer is asking the legislature to get behind a bill that would let Tennesseans bring cannabis oil back from states where it’s sold legally, like Colorado. The oil comes from a strain that’s closer to hemp than street marijuana and contains almost none of the chemical, THC, that causes a high.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Crosby), says federal restrictions have discouraged research on cannabis oil. But he’s convinced it’s effective.

“People know that there’s some benefits to this plant," Faison says. "God put it here for a reason."

Other lawmakers seem receptive, too. But they worry federal laws that ban transporting marijuana across state lines might stymie the effort.

A House subcommittee plans to study the matter more and take it up again in two weeks.

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