Beth Harwell: Maybe Medical Marijuana ‘Is a Gift from God’

Tennessee Speaker of the House and GOP gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) made news Friday afternoon when, during a fairly routine interview with Memphis Local 24 about her aspirations to be the next governor, she posited if marijuana is “a gift from God.”

Harwell’s position about on marijuana has taken a major turn after her sister, in an attempt to control pain from breaking her back, took an oral form of the drug was reportedly helped by it.

As The Tennessee Star reported in August:

According to an Associated Press report picked up by Connecticut-based The New Haven Register, Harwell relayed her personal story of how her sister broke her back and was prescribed opioids for the pain. The injury to her sister is the reason Harwell cited in a letter to the Rutherford County Republican Party explaining why she was unable to attend the Reagan Day dinner in May.

Harwell recalled to the group that her sister, who had been prescribed opioids for her pain, “had no doubt” in her mind that if she were to “continue this opioid regimen, I will become addicted to opioids.”

With Harwell’s sister living in Colorado where marijuana has been legalized, she used some for four or five days until she felt better after the initial doses of opioids, which she wanted to stop taking.

In her interview, Harwell explained her sister’s use of medical marijuana.

“She did not smoke marijuana. She took a little crystal that she put on her tongue in the evening. She did it two or three times and has not used it since,” she said, adding, “So, you have to wonder. Maybe this is a gift from God.”

Meanwhile, Democrats are organizing their efforts to push for its legalization, with studies currently underway in the state House.

Tennessee Democratic Party committeeman Gary Blackburn pointed to “a growing body of a research about the benefits of medical uses of marijuana, including for the treatment of chronic pain,” The Star reported in November.

“At this moment, when legal opioids have created an epidemic that is devastating our communities, giving doctors any other options seems like a good idea,” committeeman Blackburn said.

Although Harwell seems to be quite open to the legalization a non-smoking form of medical marijuana,  she “is making no predictions” about the passage of such a measure, or what she would do if the legislation were to land on her desk as Governor.

A recent Tennessee Star Poll showed that Harwell has made virtually no progress in the polls in the race for the Republican nomination for governor since June.

In the June Tennessee Star Poll, 4 percent of likely Republican primary voters supported her bid for governor.

Six months later, in the December Tennessee Star Poll, 6 percent of likely Republican primary voters supported her bid for governor, placing her in a distant third place.

Harwell’s focus on medical marijuana as one of her key issues is not in alignment with the top six issues among likely Republican primary voters in the December Tennessee Star Poll, which were identified as follows:

  1. Overwhelmingly oppose providing taxpayer subsidized in-state college tuition to illegal immigrant students by a whopping 88 percent to 6 percent margin, more than 14-to-1 against.
  2.  Overwhelmingly oppose Republican candidates who accept money from the Tennessee Education Association and the National Education Association, 76 percent to 6 percent, more than 12-to-1 against.
  3. Oppose Gov. Haslam’s gas tax increase by a 48 percent to 41 percent margin. 36 percent are more likely to support a candidate who promises to repeal the gas tax, while 26 percent are less likely to support such a candidate.
  4. Support passage of a bill that would require students at public schools and colleges in Tennessee to use restrooms and locker rooms matching the gender listed on their birth certificates or the gender which is consistent with their physical characteristics by a 75 percent to 13 percent margin, almost 6-to-1 in favor.
  5. Think our education system spends too much time on testing: 58 percent think our education system spends too much time and focus on these tests, while only 12 percent think our system spends too little time on tests.
  6. Oppose the removal of Civil War monuments honoring Confederate soldiers and Generals: 64 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the removal of these monuments, while 26 percent are less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the removal of these monuments.

Legalization of medical marijuana is not one of those top six issues.




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10 Thoughts to “Beth Harwell: Maybe Medical Marijuana ‘Is a Gift from God’”

  1. […] eventually got Beth’s support to legalize medical marijuana because she agrees that God may just have something to do with pot, and we’re betting that Nicely turned out to […]

  2. Eric

    I myself have seen firsthand the help people have received from using medical cannabis as well as hemp oil.
    I am a die hard conservative and openly support President Trump.

    I won’t be voting for Diane Black after she stated she would not support allowing medical marijuana in TN.

    I do not support recreational use although I don’t see it being as bad as alcohol.

    The Opioid crisis, Fentanyl, Heroin, these are the real problem.

    Telling a family that their child or even an adult they cannot have medical marijuana in this state for their cancer or epilepsy is absurd.

    I have worked in Law enforcement for 13 years, take a look at the stats on the major drugs plaguing America.

    Beth Harwell has my vote if she stays the coarse.

  3. Sandra B

    To 83ragtop50, Kevin B and John kevin: It is obvious that none of you nor none of your family members have serious medical issues that require them to be on opioids or or seriously strong medications. I have and for those reasons, I am with not only Beth Harwell, but also with Mat who posted here..I was legally put on medications by licensed physicians on such high doses that it had my pharmacist alarmed. My brain was so “legally” destroyed that I couldn’t remember the names of coworkers I had worked with for years Needless to say, I left that neurologist and am now a patient at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,Minnesota and have a neurologist where I live who previously worked there. Why does this happen? KICKBACKS Pharmaceutical companies buy lunches for medical practices, give them freebies (pens, notepads, medications, etc.) The same reason your doctor’s only have privileges at certain hospitals.
    I have witnessed this since I was a child, I’m now 70. For a period of time, I worked for the chairman of a department at a very large hospital. I’ve watched all of this happen.
    What do I know about medical marijuana. I know it works and it gives people back their lives! No, I can’t get it where I live, but was extremely fortunate to be able to try it in Washington state for one week. For one unbelievably amazing week, I was pain-free! That was over a year ago. I am back home and homebound because of terrible pain. I refuse opioids. My body refuses them as well. Let me say that I am against recreational marijuana in any way shape or form. I am 100% for medical marijuana and will do all I can to get my life back and help everyone else who needs that help. All the naysayers, I wish no ill will, but until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes, as the saying goes!!

  4. Mat

    1. The DEA has marijuana under Schedule 1: “SCHEDULE 1 (CLASS I) DRUGS are illegal because they have high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns

    2. No one has ever died from marijuana overdose in over 5,000 years of use around the planet. Overdosing on *tap water* killed more people this year, than marijuana overdose has in the entire history of the human race. Which means that marijuana does not have “severe safety concerns”. Even the DEA admits there has never been an overdose death:

    “No death from overdose of marijuana has been reported.”

    Meanwhile, over 60,000 Americans died of opioid overdose.

    3. In contradiction of “no medical use”, there are hundreds of scientific papers showing that medical marijuana can help with numerous health issues, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, and many others.

    So when government says there is “no medical use”, they are lying. Our politicians are acting like children with fingers in their ears. “BlahBlahBlah, I’m not going to listen to you.”

    4. As for it’s “high abuse potential”, marijuana is about as addictive and dangerous as a cup of coffee:

    It’s shocking that coffee is legal, given that it’s just as bad a drug as marijuana is…

    5. Medical marijuana isn’t an abstract issue to me. My brother has brain cancer, and marijuana has been shown to extend survival times in the worst form of brain cancer by over 50%. By itself it is the largest advance in the field in decades. So much so that scientists are making a synthetic pill.

    I’m curious why it’s illegal for my brother to buy a $3 pill and try to save his life, but spending thousands of dollars on a prescription drug with the exact same compound is perfectly legal in the eyes of our elected officials.

    6. Getting to the heart of the matter: Politicians don’t care *which* drugs you use as much as *whose* drugs you use. If they get bribes, sorry, “campaign contributions” from Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, or Big Pharma, why, they’re perfectly ok with *those* drugs. They’d be OK with weed if they could figure out how to make money off it.

    7. Cannabis prohibition violates the Constitution. The Constitution that you can see in the Smithsonian was written on hemp paper, and two of our first three Presidents (Washington and Jefferson) grew marijuana, so you can’t say our Founding Fathers would be against it. It violates the 1st Amendment (my beliefs allow me to try to treat my brother’s cancer with it), the 8th Amendment (“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself” – Jimmy Carter), the 9th/10th Amendment (the Constitution doesn’t give government power to prohibit *anything*, which is why it took a Constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. )

    The Preamble to the US Constitution states that the Constitution exists “to promote the general Welfare”. Any federal law which goes against that grain is inherently contrary to the wishes of the Founding Fathers. And one strains to imagine a law more at odds with the concept of “promoting the general Welfare” than allowing sick and dying people to hurt and suffer needlessly.

    So whether you’re a Constitutional Conservative, a fiscal conservative, a “small government” conservative, or a libertarian, you should be opposed to marijuana prohibition.

  5. 83ragtop50

    I guess Ms. Harwell is catering to a different populous than yours truly. I have heard the arguments for “medical” marijuana and am not convinced that the benefits outweigh the problems that would come with legalizing pot. I really do not care what the folks in Colorado, California, etc. have decided to legalize a substance that has been shown to cause brain damage when used by younger people and offers drunks another means for getting bombed.

  6. Kevin B

    Well, yes, marijuana was put here by God, just like every other plant, animal or politician. Not all are good for you! IF marijuana, or any of it’s chemical components were truly therapeutic, and could withstand scientific scrutiny, why hasn’t “big pharma” or some entrepreneurial individual would have commercialized it years ago? Or maybe Ms. Harwell is really just another liberal politician in conservative clothes, looking to further shackle citizens with debt, and addiction, and rob them of our lives.

    1. John kevin

      Evidently research isn’t your strong suit. Several pharmaceutical companies have made synthetic versions of cannabinoids. They all failed to produce significant profits. The reason they failed is because they didn’t account for the entourage effect which put simply is when different components combine to create positive results beyond what they can do on their own. Terpens and flavonoids which are responsible for the many different tastes and smells of cannabis combined with different ratios of thc, cbd, thca, etc resulting in medical benefits that are nearly impossible to create in a lab. That is why whole plant cannabis will almost always be the better option for those seeking the medical benefits of cannabis.

    2. Colette B

      Because it is a plant. But big pharma made marinol based on cannabis (it has killed people, cannabis has not). And the USA government has a patent on the compounds in it.