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Gubernatorial Candidate Mae Beavers Raises Questions About Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Tennessee

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Last month, Republican House Speaker and candidate for Governor Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) announced her support for consideration of legalizing marijuana for some medicinal uses in Tennessee. Now, she and Lt. Governor Randy McNally have established a legislative committee to study and report on the subject.

The Joint Ad Hoc Committee on Medical Cannabis is “authorized and directed to study, evaluate, analyze and undertake a comprehensive review regarding whether the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes is in the best interest of the state.” The committee will be chaired by Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby. It also will include Reps. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia; Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville; Sam Whitson, R-Franklin; Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis; and Sens. Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville; Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City; Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald; and Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville.

Rep. Faison has said that he expects the medical marijuana issue to be among the top 5 issues on voters minds in the 2018 race for Governor. “Obviously we see jobs and infrastructure as probably going to be number one, and abortion and gun rights are way up there when it comes to Republican values,” Faison said. “I do see a lot of sick people making this issue a top five issue for candidates.”

At least one candidate for Governor remains skeptical of the claims being made by those advocating legalization of marijuana in Tennessee for alleged medical purposes. Former State Senator Mae Beavers, who resigned from the legislature last month to devote her focus on the Governor’s race says those pushing for marijuana legalization in Tennessee for “medical” purposes have a lot of questions to answer.

“I hope the Legislature won’t be ‘duped’ into supporting ‘dope’ based on a smokescreen of ‘medical’ concern. As Governor I certainly won’t be fooled by a Trojan Horse campaign, no matter how sincere some of those who are seeking medical treatment may be,” Beavers says.

“At this point Federal law enforcement agencies, the FDA and Congress have refused to embrace legalization of marijuana in recreational or medicinal form,” Beavers points out. “Based upon current federal drug laws regarding marijuana, promoting currently illegal drugs would not be a priority for a Beavers Administration.”

But Beavers’ concerns go beyond the fact that marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law. “Proponents of medical marijuana consistently ignore or deny the fact that the same medical doctors who recklessly dispense prescriptions for the opioids that are fueling an opioids crisis in Tennessee are the same ones we would expect to properly regulate the dispensing of medical marijuana. I believe we should deal with one drug distribution crisis before we proceed to create another,” Beavers notes.

Beavers also says there is substantial evidence that marijuana use is a so-called “gateway” that leads to other and more dangerous drug use. However, she is equally concerned that the promotion of “medical” marijuana is simply a means to legalize recreational marijuana. “If “medical” marijuana proponents were seriously concerned about patients then they wouldn’t actively resist limiting any medical legalization to ONLY those forms of marijuana with very low levels of THC, which do not produce the “high” that recreational users desire. It is a bait and switch scheme to use the emotional appeal of medical treatment to cover up the real goal of recreational use, Beavers says.

If the proponents of “medical” marijuana will get serious about legitimate medical applications for marijuana there may be a basis to discuss legitimate medical usage, according to Beavers. But at this point, she notes, the real intent of those advocating to legalize recreational use is clear, both from the effort to include high THC marijuana as “medicinal” as well as the groups who are supporting (publicly and secretively) the campaign to promote medical marijuana in Tennessee.

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Gubernatorial Candidate Mae Beavers Raises Questions About Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Tennessee

  1. Michael Crowley

    Ill begin with my post describing myself. I am a 24 year old Libertarian from Atlanta Georgia. I currently live in Nashville Tennessee and graduated from Belmont University. For those who don’t know what libertarianism is, It means I am extremely conservative with regards to economics, but rather liberal with regards to social issues. We believe in the true values and principles of freedom. With some exceptions: I believe as an American living in a “free country”, you should be allowed to do whatever you want to do, as long as it does not intrude on the natural rights of another human being. This basically means is that if you want to live in a free country, sometimes you have to allow people to do things you don’t personally agree with, or choose to do yourself. That is the beauty of freedom; you have a choice.
    Until a few years ago I deeply identified as a Republican. However, I had to leave the party because I realized the Republican party was no longer the true party of Lincoln. They only value and promote freedom if it coincides with Caucasian/ Christian values. I say that, as a Causation Christian myself. Ive been given the impression from the comments on this article that there are some who believe that it just the left that wants Cannabis to be legalized. Let me be the first to tell you how deeply mistaken you are. Have you not noticed that the decriminalization bills passed in Nashville and Memphis were sponsored and co-sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats? There is a reason for that.
    Cannabis has many medical benefits. Just do one google search, use your common sense about what sources are bias or not and read. The evidence is vast and irrefutable. The government has lied to everyone about marijuana’s benefits for decades. The only reason marijuana was made illegal in the first place in the 1930’s was to promote the incarceration of minorities.,
    “Harry Anslinger, the father of the war on weed, fully embraced racism as a tool to demonize marijuana. As the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a predecessor to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anslinger institutionalized his belief that pot’s “effect on the degenerate races” made its prohibition a top priority. Here are just a few of his most famous (and most racist) quotes:

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
    Between Anslinger’s ruminations on the need to keep marijuana away from minorities — especially the entertainers! — were countless other fabrications about the health effects of pot. It was “more dangerous than heroin or cocaine” and “leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing,’’ he claimed.”
    Source:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/marijuana-prohibition-racist_n_4590190.html

    If you take the time to do the research, this is just a taste of what you’ll find. There are New York Times articles and many other examples that express the true motivation behind the criminalization of marijuana.
    But ignoring all of that, As a libertarian and conservative, I care about the economic success of my community, especially those in poverty. Marijuana legalization in Tennessee would create economic growth (jobs), as well as a decrease in crime. Anyone who disagrees, I respectfully suggest take another look at the history of alcohol prohibition and the current crime rates, tax revenue of states that have legalized Marijuana. These states have switched the monetary benefits of marijuana from the black market to the legal market, resulting in increased tax revenue and true economic growth. Some states have made so much surplus revenue, it’s being directly injected back into the local communities.
    Source: http://gazette.com/colorado-taxpayers-will-get-a-tabor-gift-in-2016/article/1566974
    If you pay attention to relatively non-bias sources like the gallop poll, its clear that Marijuana legalization is happening and will happen regardless. The momentum of the marijuana majority shows no sign of slowing down.
    source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/196550/support-legal-marijuana.aspx
    If you care to take any advice from a conservative millennial it is this, don’t sabotage the future of the Republican party by being socially close minded, stubborn, and hypocritical.
    Im not asking you to smoke Cannabis, no-one is. Im asking those of you to embrace the principles of the original party of Lincoln, specifically freedom and acceptance. Just because you don’t agree with something and make a choice not to smoke yourself, doesn’t give you the right to advocate criminal penalties for someone who makes a different personal choice.

    1. 83ragtop50

      Michael, the position you expressed contradicts your definition of a libertarian – “With some exceptions: I believe as an American living in a “free country”, you should be allowed to do whatever you want to do, as long as it does not intrude on the natural rights of another human being. ” you simply need to update yourself with the problems wrought on Colorado subsequent to their legalization of recreational use. The use of this sensory-numbing drug frequently has direct negative impact on others. Good try, but your argument is faulty. Beyond that, I share with you the desire to be free to make my own choices. But not at the expense of harming others.

      1. Michael Crowley

        83ratop50, Thank you for your reply. Im curious to know your opinion on the legality on alcohol and tobacco products. I believe most would agree the negative effects of alcohol on individuals, families, and entire communities far outweigh those of legal Cannabis. Should we make alcohol illegal as well? If not, what makes alcohol’s case for legalization stronger than Cannabis?

        1. Jeffery Humble

          Yaaas!

  2. Susan E Gingrich

    Smoking anything anytime is not healthy for a person’s lungs. There are serious considerations, including the need for a thorough research review, before there should be any consideration of expanding medical marijuana use in TN beyond FDA approved uses for specific illnesses. Where is the government funded research proving smoking pot or using it in another form cures opioid addiction permanently? Could not over use of pot in a person with an addictive personality cause the person to lose employment-ending up on the already too swollen welfare roles? States such as CO & WA allowing recreational marijuana and easy self-medicating experienced an increase in vehicle accidents-these injuries could also end up costing taxpayers. Supporting enhanced medical marijuana may lead to a few easy votes for candidates like Beth Harwell, but I doubt this support was fully thought out. There is no quick fix like this one for opioid addiction. I sincerely hope the newly appointed panel will do more than travelling around listening and will do the research and independent thinking needed to make decisions in the best interest of TN taxpayers.

  3. Eric

    You have my support Mae.

    I’m sure that comment will illicit nasty comments from the left.

  4. 83ragtop50

    This will only be one of the top 5 items on the voters’ minds if the proponents keep pushing it. I truly believe that the vast majority of Tennesseans are not interested in seeing the state go to pot. (Pun intended.) I am with Mae on this topic. It is very much a Trojan horse. It is currently legal to purchase the medical components of marijuana. You just cannot legally purchase the raw product. I believe that the real push is for legalizing “recreational” use. Of course the underlying tax revenue may well be a motivator as well.

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