Shelby County Commission committee votes to support medical marijuana

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Shelby County Commission legislative affairs committee has voted to back a medical marijuana bill for Tennessee.

The bill would allow 50 growing operations across the state, including 15 in economically distressed areas.

Medical practitioners would have to obtain a special license to prescribe it, and patients would have to buy a $35 medical card.

Wednesday, the Legislative Affairs Committee voted 5 to 2 to support the bill.

Commissioner Terry Roland, who voted in favor of the bill, said he hoped medical marijuana could serve as a substitute and help stem the growing opioid addiction problem.

Commission Mark Billingsley disagreed and said he could not support any drug expansion in the state.

The committee also passed a resolution to expand a "second chance" program for people arrested with less than .5 ounces of marijuana.

The full Commission will take up both parts of the ordinance on Monday.