MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Sixteen states do it, Congressman Steve Cohen is for it, and even televangelist Pat Robertson is in favor of medical marijuana.
The Tennessee House Health Subcommittee approved a plan on March 27, legalizing pot for patients.
But, there are still hurdles to clear.
The medical marijuana bill is sponsored by Representative Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis). She is passionate on the subject and sincere in her desire to help sick people, but in order to disarm opponents she resorts to comedy.
“This is not a bill about Cheech and Chong smoking a bong,” Richardson told abc24.com, “This is about people who are sick and dying, this is about compassion.”
But, opinions on the legalization of medical marijuana are mixed.
“I just don’t think its medicinal uses are good for right now,” said Hendersonville, TN resident Billy Deering. “Not until it’s studied.
“I feel like whatever’s going to help somebody get through their day, then to each their own,” Rashanda Lawyer told abc24.com.
Richardson is trying to be optimistic her bill will pass, but admits to an uphill battle.
“I think what’s going to hurt it is politics,” Richardson said, “my colleagues get it, but they tell me time and again that it will hurt me in my home district.”
Politics aside, many believe in medical marijuana.
“I think all things that are grown on earth can be used medicinally,” said Lori Williams Presley.
“I am convinced that they want it,” said Richardson, “that the majority of Tennessee citizens do want it.”
Perhaps the majority want it, but not all.
“I’m a minister so I don’t like drugs,” Tammy Burrton told abc24.com.
Richardson said if they don’t get the medical marijuana bill this year, then they’ll get it next year or the year after, but they will get it.
She cited several national polls, indicating that upwards of 80 percent of all Americans are in favor of legalized medical marijuana.