From Memphis in the west to Nashville in the center, and all the way to Knoxville in the east, Tennessee is known for being the beating heart of country music and the stately home of Jack Daniels Sour Mash Whiskey. However, what it hasn’t been known for is a friendly place to consume the sacrament we like to call cannabis.
That is about to change. Well, kinda.
Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell’s sister suffers pain from an injury sustained while doing yoga, and it’s changed her outlook on available treatments.
Her sister’s high speed yoga accident has led her to support the legalization of medical marijuana, Harwell says.
The way Harwell (also a Republican candidate for governor of the Volunteer State) tells it, her drug-free and health-nut sister — who lives in Colorado, natch — asked her husband to go to a dispensary and get her some herbal medicine.
"She was prescribed opioids," Harwell told the local news. "She would need to be on them for 12 weeks. She was in a body brace. She really realized after a couple weeks of action she would be addicted if she didn't take an alternative course of action."
Mixing it with a little coconut oil, her sister put the cannabis oil on her tongue rather than smoking it. “It really got her through some tough days so she's not on any medicine right now,” Harwell said. “So it is an alternative for some folks."
After only a few days, her sister was living pain-free despite a broken back. "This will take a while to educate folks,” Harwell says, as cannabis is not yet FDA approved. “Then, we will get the medical community involved to make sure we're doing the right thing by the people in Tennessee."
The attempt to put the bill through died last session, so Speaker Harwell created a task force to study medical marijuana. State-Rep Jeremy Faison (R) has indicated that he will be re-introducing the bill again in 2018.
"I Have a personal interest in this now," Harwell told U.S. News.