Two Tennessee bills would legalize medical marijuana in the state, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.

State Sen. James Kyle introduced Senate Bill 660 (SB660) and State Rep. Sherry Jones introduced House Bill 561 (HB561).

Under these two bills, qualified patients would be able to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, something which is illegal under unconstitutional federal drug laws. Patients would have to qualify for enrollment in the Safe Access program by having their physician approve the use of medical marijuana. In the patient is enrolled, the program would issue them an ID card.

Additional provisions make it illegal for a person to be denied entry to a school, a job position, visitation or child custody rights, or a lease with a landlord due to their use of medical marijuana.

Other provisions in the bills would have the state department of health, department of agriculture, and board of pharmacy would report biannually to the Tennessee General Assembly, among other things, the number of patients enrolled in the Safe Access program; their debilitating medical conditions, and the number of doctors certifying patients for the program.

Anyone who discloses confidential patient information contained in the Safe Access program would be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

Both bills have been passed on for first consideration and are expected to be referred to a committee.


The federal government currently lists marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic and attempts to prohibit it for any purpose. Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey says this clearly violates the Constitution.

“The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana in the states. This power remains with the state governments and the people. Doubt me? Then ask yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. There is no fundamental difference,” Maharrey said.

As more states take marijuana policy into their own hands, defying the federal prohibition, the federal government has become increasingly incapable of enforcing its unconstitutional prohibition. They simply lack the resources to stop the tidal wave. For those concerned about the health care and personal choices of people living in Virginia, this cannot come too soon.

Medical marijuana is an incredibly important issue pertaining to nullification and states’ rights. Because it is so overwhelmingly popular, medical marijuana can act as a metaphorical ‘gateway drug’ to the idea of state and local resistance to onerous federal laws. With this issue, it is possible to show the residents of your state that local control better serves the needs of the people than the top-down federal approach that has failed for so many decades.

Although it draws a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, these two bills mark an enormous step in the right direction for both medical marijuana supporters and advocates of decentralized government in the state of Tennessee. It signals that the public is ready to throw off the shackles of ‘federal supremacy’ and take lawmaking into their own hands.


In Tennessee: Take the steps listed  AT THIS LINK, to help support SB660 and HB561.

In Other States: Contact your state legislators and politely demand that they introduce bills that push back against prohibition on medical or recreational cannabis. Start here.

TJ Martinell

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