A small segment of medical marijuana may soon be legal in Tennessee.
Gov. Bill Haslam can sign into law a four-year study of medical marijuana and severe epilepsy.
For the medical marijuana people, it feels like they finally have a foot in the door.
If signed, Vanderbilt University will conduct the study, and Tennessee Tech will perhaps become the first college in state history to grow marijuana.
Millie Mattison has intractable epilepsy. Her medicine was $60,000 a month and her parents said it really wasn't working.
So Penn Mattison sold everything and moved to Colorado so Millie could be treated with medical marijuana. It has been the gamble of a lifetime.
"We're seeing with our own eyes children that have never been given a chance by doctors do amazing things," said Penn Mattison by phone. "It's impossible to argue with the results."
The Tennessee legislature agreed to a four-year study at Vanderbilt for intractable epilepsy.
The marijuana will be grown at Tennessee Tech, where a combination of agriculture excellence and the desire to do something big brought them to the table without reservation.
"There are a lot of wonderful stories about the success, but we've found that there needs to be more research done on the issue," said Tennessee Tech's Karen Lykins. "We think it's so promising and encouraging and exciting. We want to be a part of that, supporting the science."
The supporters of medical marijuana feel they have their foot in the door and they are hoping the epilepsy study will fling the door open for cancer and MS patients, and others suffering.
"I think people see this is something the government needs to back out of," said NORML President Doak Patton. "The government doesn't need to be involved in every decision of our lives."
If the governor signs the study into law as expected, Tennessee Tech would begin growing marijuana. Tech will have to have special security and transportation for the marijuana to reach Vanderbilt.
Today, Millie Mattison's medical marijuana bill is $150 for five weeks.
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