The leader of the Tennessee House of Representatives released the results of a survey he conducted of his constituents on Friday, and it showed overwhelming majority support for medical marijuana.
More than 73 percent of surveyed constituents represented by House Speaker Glen Casada (R) said they support allowing the medical use of cannabis, including 18.2 percent who back full recreational marijuana legalization. The rest of that group endorsed only “use for medical purposes under a physician’s strict supervision.”
Another 8.8 percent said cannabis shouldn’t be used until it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with an additional 17.9 percent saying they’d never back the drug “regardless of FDA approval.”
I sent out a constituent survey a few weeks back on a range of topics including medical cannabis, school choice, mental health funding, TN Promise tuition funding, open vs. closed primaries, professional privilege tax reform, and so on. Here are the results! #TNleg pic.twitter.com/P8fOsjmIhU
— Speaker Glen Casada (@GlenCasada) April 26, 2019
It’s not clear how many constituents participated in the survey, and a representative from Casada’s office did not immediately respond to Marijuana Moment’s request for comment.
Marijuana is currently illegal in Tennessee for both adult-use and medical purposes.
Casada has previously come out in opposition to legalizing medical marijuana, but he said in January that he was interested in at least one legalization bill: the Tennessee Responsible Use of Medicinal Plants Act (TRUMP) Act, named so to emphasize that President Donald Trump has voiced support for medical cannabis.
“It failed, but it got a little bit further than last time,” Casada told The Jackson Sun in January, referencing the last version of the legislation. “I think a lot of representatives are concerned with a non-scientific body like the legislature approving a product for medical use.”
“But there are people who are desperate, because they are terminally ill, and they should have a right to try something,” he added.
The latest version of the bill was abandoned by lawmakers earlier this month, and it won’t be taken back up until 2020.
Legalization might have had a stronger chance if former House Speaker Beth Harwell had won her race for governor during last year’s midterm election. She had touted the fact—in a TV ad featuring footage of Trump—that she was the “only Republican candidate for governor who supports legalizing doctor-prescribed medical cannabis.”
Gov. Bill Lee (R) has publicly said he opposes legalizing cannabis for medical use, though the sponsor of the TRUMP Act claimed last month that “he assured me he would sign this bill.”
Photo courtesy of Nicholas C. Morton.