Medical marijuana moves through House
Chloe Lea was born in October 2011, and when she was 8 days old she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that dealt with the development of her brain. She had intractable seizures, hundreds of them on a given day.
Chloe’s mother, Peden Lea from Memphis, did everything in her power, visited every doctor she could and tried every medication she could — over 20 different kinds to stop the seizures.
It wasn’t enough. Chloe died last December, just a couple of months after her 3rd birthday.
Now there is a Republican-sponsored bill going through the state House that supporters say might have helped Chloe.
The Jackson Sun editorial board was visited Wednesday by supporters of the proposed bill, which would allow medical marijuana, or cannabis, to be used for people with debilitating medical conditions.
The marijuana could have helped Chloe with her seizures, and it has been shown to help people suffering from a variety of diseases, Lea said.
Only serious conditions are covered as the bill is currently written. Individuals with stage II or later terminal cancer, patients with Parkinson’s disease, intractable seizures, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease, among others, would be able to use medical marijuana if the bill becomes law.
“I don’t know if you have children,” Lea said. “It doesn’t matter, you know. It should always be the same. There should not be something that stands in the way of any parent having access to anything that could potentially save the life of a child.”
The marijuana would not be a product that could be smoked, according to Erik Williams, a representative of TennCanGrow LLC, a Murfreesboro-based proprietary limited liability company.
Instead, the marijuana would be vaporized or made into an oil or a patch. The bottom line, he said, is that it would only be given to those who truly need it.
“We believe, along with our Republican sponsors, that these are things that cannot be faked,” Williams said. “We don’t want some skateboarder banging his elbow and getting medical marijuana. That’s not what I, nor our company, are in this for.”
To make sure that doesn’t happen, the bill has strict guidelines that dictate how a patient could obtain the marijuana.
The patient must be diagnosed with one of the listed conditions, get a doctor recommendation, fill out an application with the local health department and get a card that will allow them to obtain the cannabis. Caregivers will have to register as well if the individual is unable to physically obtain the cannabis.
Williams said the regulations would make Tennessee one of the most restrictive states in the nation to allow medical marijuana.
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