Medical Cannabis Commission Explores Out-of-State Purchases for Patients

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Tennessee’s Medical Cannabis Commission will be providing recommendations to the legislature regarding the best process for allowing patients to receive medical cannabis. 

The state commission has spent time studying the drug over the last few months. They have listened to statements from both those who want to see the drug legalized to those, such as law enforcement, who are concerned about the potential negative impact that legalization could have.

This has not been a quick process. In the last five years, legislation to legalize cannabis has failed multiple times in various committees. 

On Friday, both the state highway patrol and the TBI crime lab presented before the commission.

Mike Lyttle, Assistant Director of the TBI Forensic Division, believes that using cannabis creates unsafe situations.

“You can take prescription drugs, things like Xanax or Valium where you should not be driving a motor vehicle, you can take over the counter drugs like Benadryl and not be safe to operate a motor vehicle. Same thing [is] true for cannabis,” Lyttle said.

Officials use statistics from states such as Colorado to show the harmful effects of legalization. One statistic shows that DUI arrests due to marijuana use increased in Colorado in the years since legalization of recreational cannabis in 2012.

Advocates say that increase is not necessarily due to the increased use of cannabis but could instead be attributed to the fact that the state also increased the number of officers trained to identify marijuana-caused DUIs, leading to a higher number of arrests. They argue that the number of marijuana related arrests has actually decreased by 70%, which would be expected because use was made legal.


Across the country, legalization of medical cannabis has been on the rise. Colorado first approved the drug for medical use in 2000 and then, along with Washington, legalized it for recreational use in 2012. 

By 2020, all but two states had legalized the use of CBD oil and most had legalized cannabis for medical purposes.

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David Hairston is an advocate with Safe Access Tennessee. His group, along with others, makes the argument that there are individuals in the state who simply want to use the drug as a treatment for illness like so many others are in different states.

“It’s not possible to put that genie back in the bottle with the widespread availability of cannabis either as a medicine or a recreational drug,” Hairston stated. “We need to find a graceful way for law enforcement to exit that and for us to protect the patients in Tennessee which is what we should’ve been doing all along.”

The Medical Commission is also looking into ways for patients to get the drug from other states that have legalized it. They are considering ways for these individuals to bring cannabis into Tennessee to explore the medical benefits to those patients.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

4 thoughts on “Medical Cannabis Commission Explores Out-of-State Purchases for Patients

  • December 15, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Residents of Tennessee who need cannabis for medicinal use should not be targets of law enforcement. Cannabis helps with a variety of ailments, especially with pain management. Citizens of Tennessee Should Not be treated like criminals for choosing cannabis products over the commonly prescribed pharmaceutical medications which are proven to cause health problems including addiction and death. However, just like with covid, big pharma profits from the deadly drugs, and pays our elected officials so much hush money that neither they nor our legislators in Tennessee care to listen to those of us who would choose cannabis products as a safer alternative to their profitable chemical poisons.

    • December 15, 2021 at 6:08 pm

      Mr. Hawkins, I would recommend to you that maybe you should hear/read the stories of families where the negative effects of marijuana has had on them. Organizations such as “Mom’s Strong”, “Every Brain Matters”, “johnny’s Ambassadors” have hundreds of stories with families devastated by marijuana. You are right though, if marijuana comes to Tennessee, Big Pharma, Big Marijuana as well as Big Tobacco will be smack right in the middle of it. That is exactly what happened in Colorado. I know because I lived there for 11 years (before and after legalization) and worked for the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division as an investigator and regulator who approved or denied licenses. Colorado citizens are now rising up against legalization but “you can’t put that genie back in the bottle”. Tennessee needs to walk slowly in this process. Most people know very little about the effects of marijuana as well as the 450 chemicals, many of which we do not know what they do to the body and brain. In order to make proper decisions, the public needs to do their research and make themselves informed before making a decision that they may regret. Check out CUD, (Cannabis Use Disorder). It is extremely common.

  • December 18, 2021 at 3:45 am

    The issue is compassion and the right to personal choice for medical patients. In your former position did you approve any of those license requests, and weren’t they for recreational, as opposed to medical use of cannabis products? It seems very hypocritical for you to want medical patients in Tennessee to suffer, especially if you approved any requests for recreational use in Colorado. Conservatives generally respect the rights of people to choose what is best for them on an individual basis, while liberals tend to want everything they do not personally agree with banned for everyone. Prohibitionist scare stories such as yours have no place here in Tennessee or anywhere else in America, for that matter. Your fear-mongering about “poor little Johnny the drug addict” when the issue is medicinal use sound a lot like Fauci’s covid rantings.

  • December 18, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    This debate os about cannabis products for medicinal use. In your former capacity did you approve any of those license requests, and weren’t those licenses for recreational use? If so, it seems rather hypocritical of you to now oppose medicinal use of cannabis products by those of us living in the state of Tennessee. Conservatives generally view personal choice concerning our lives and our bodies as a basic right, whereas liberals in general seem to want everything they don’t like banned for everyone. Horror stories about “poor little johnny the drug addict” have no place in a debate about medical freedom. If you want to go into all that, then the high rates of addiction and death from legal pharmaceutical drugs commonly prescribed for pain management must be considered, because cannabis is being considered here as a safer alternative for injured and ill citizens of Tennessee. Your prohibitionist rantings about the harms of cannabis sound like Fauci’s ravings about covid, and we can easily see where that has gotten us as a state and as a nation.


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