As Tennessee lawmakers begin discussions about possibly allowing
medical marijuana in Tennessee, the top-tier candidates seeking to
replace Gov. Bill Haslam have vastly different opinions.
While legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee has been brought up in
the legislature several times in recent years, House Speaker Beth
Harwell, who announced her run for governor in July, made headlines
when she said she was open to the idea.
Last month, Harwell said a treatment using marijuana for her sister's
back injury caused her to reconsider whether the Volunteer State
should embrace medical cannabis, the Associated Press reported.
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Educating lawmakers and the general public will be a key component of
the recently formed legislative committee tasked with tackling medical
marijuana, according to one of the legislators heading up the panel.
"I think one of the goals is to make sure that the people and the
advocates and the patients are aware of what we're doing and make sure
that they give feedback to their elected officials," said Sen. Steve
Dickerson, R-Nashville, who along with Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby,
are heading up a legislative committee to study the issue.
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I was truly amazed when I heard that Beth Harwell, erstwhile
gubernatorial candidate and reefer madness maven, said she was "open"
to medicinal cannabis here in Tennessee.
This is a major reversal of policy for Ms. Harwell.
What changed her mind? She says her sister's positive experience with
state legal medicinal cannabis products in Colorado while recovering
from a broken back made her rethink the issue.
Thousands of Tennesseans have, for years now, been asking Ms. Harwell
and her fellow Republicans for a medical cannabis program, as can be
found in 29 other states so far, to treat illnesses such as my wife's
multiple sclerosis. For years now, our pleas have fallen on deaf
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The treatment of her sister's back injury has
caused Republican gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell to reevaluate
Tennessee's ban on medical marijuana.
Harwell, who is speaker of the state House of Representatives, told a
Republican gathering earlier this month that allowing medical
marijuana has come up as part of a discussion about how to tackle the
state's opioid crisis.
The longtime Nashville representative said her sister was recently
prescribed opioids after breaking her back.
"She was in a yoga class and came down out of a shoulder stand the
wrong way," Harwell said. "And she was, of course, in a great deal of
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The rate of hospitalizations for Tennesseans 65 years and older due to
painkillers has more than tripled in a decade.
Older adults are being hospitalized for reasons that range from falls
and auto accidents after taking pain pills to unintentional overdoses,
interactions with other medications and weakened kidney or liver
functions in aging bodies that fail to metabolize the drug in the same
way as younger people.
Experts say physicians and family members are more likely to overlook
addiction in senior citizens -- even after opioids require a trip to
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A state lawmaker said he will propose legislation
in January to tighten laws governing bounty hunters and bonding agents
in the wake of a fatal shooting in Clarksville.
On Wednesday, Rep. Joe Pitts held a meeting with representatives from
the Tennessee Sheriff's Association, Tennessee Association of
Professional Bail Agents, Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley and
Montgomery County Sheriff John Fuson, among others.
Pitts said the meeting was sparked by a series of articles by The
Leaf-Chronicle that examined laws pertaining to bounty hunters and
bonding agents. In some cases, the laws are unclear. In others, the
laws are simply being ignored.
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Authorities on Wednesday closed a West Knoxville apartment that the
Knox County District Attorney General's Office called "a modern-day
Apartment 3 at 2818 Dayton St. has been the scene of several overdoses
- -- one resulting in death -- over the past five months, according to a
statement from the District Attorney General's Office.
In the fatal overdose, police believe one of the apartment's
residents, Cassandra Deann Canupp, supplied the victim with drugs,
according to the statement. The victim died of fentanyl and cocaine
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The Knoxville Police Department is seeking a federal grant to bring a
research-based approach to countering opioid abuse.
Judy Jenkins keeps her medication in a bucket stored in a pantry instead
of the medicine cabinet.(Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Tennessean)
The Knoxville Police Department is seeking a federal grant to bring a
research-based approach to countering one of the city's and the
Tennessee's fastest-growing epidemics - opioid abuse.
City Council members are set to vote on a resolution Tuesday night that,
if approved, would give KPD permission to apply for a 2017 Smart Policing
Initiative grant worth up to $700,000 over three years.
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Federal officials have said they want to work with Tennessee to curb the
opioid epidemic.(Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto)
If you're looking for a safe way to dispose of prescription drugs, head
over to the Brentwood Municipal Center on April 30.
The Brentwood Police Department will participate in the National
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Residents can drop off prescription drugs
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was established to provide a
safe, convenient and responsible way of disposing of prescription drugs,
while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of
medications. Brentwood police officers will be on hand at the Brentwood
Municipal Center during the event.
According to the DEA, prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is at "alarming
rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to
For more information visit https://brentwood-tn.org.
Mt. Juliet Police conducted a search warrant Tuesday afternoon as part of
a heroin and methamphetamine investigation that closed Old Lebanon Dirt
Road near Nighthawk Lane.
The search warrant included explosions that police described as
"flashbangs," which were deployed as distractions because of information
the individuals inside may have been armed, Mt. Juliet Police Lt. Tyler
"So, using distraction methods, helps minimize risk for the Special
Response Team members making entry," Chandler said.
Old Lebanon Dirt Road between Nighthawk Lane and Eagle Trace Drive was
closed for a period of time before being reopened.
The Tennessean will provide additional information as details become
"Prevention is preferable to cure." These words are part of the modern
Hippocratic Oath, which guide my work and the work of my fellow physicians
across our state. Today we are facing a crisis that demands a preventive
solution: prescription painkiller abuse.
The stakes are real -- I've heard too many heart-wrenching tales of lives
lost and families torn apart. We know many of these addicts never intended
to be drug abusers, but began with a real need to treat pain from injuries
or other medical conditions.
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