Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee of the Tennessee House of Representatives on Tuesday heard testimony opposed to the legalization of marijuana for “medicinal” purposes from Dr. David Murray, chief scientist for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President, and Dr. Kent Shih, an oncologist currently practicing in the Nashville area.
The committee also heard testimony from Steven Steiner, who said he has been impacted personally by the loss of a child to drug abuse.
The Family Action Council of Tennessee, that is headed by former Chattanoogan David Fowler, secured the presence of the three witnesses.
The committee met to study and make a proposal regarding HB0486 (the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes) sponsored by Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville).
“We appreciate the willingness of these individuals to come, at their own expense, to educate the committee members about what is really at stake in the debate over ‘medical marijuana,’” said Mr. Fowler, president of the Family Action Council and a former state senator.
“Having seen my own mother suffer and die from cancer, I know how much we all desire to see relief for those we love. But we cannot allow the compassion of the average American to overcome good science and good medicine. Nor can we allow that compassion to be manipulated by those who have, as their ultimate agenda, the legalization of marijuana and even other drugs.”
Mr. Fowler said, "Approval of a narcotic by legislative processes is highly irregular and we must ask ourselves why, if this is such good 'medicine,’ the FDA has not approved its use as it has with other drugs or why the American Medical Association does not support its use.”
Mr. Fowler also said the bill "would inevitably lead to increased public consumption of marijuana and make a mockery of our criminal drug laws. What has been observed in other states is that marijuana distribution becomes uncontrollable in society at large even when it is restricted to ‘medicinal uses.’ With an individual able to produce up to 13,000 joints per year under this bill, it is naïve to think that those joints won’t wind up in the wrong hands.”
Mr. Fowler also predicted that enforcement of the criminal law regarding marijuana will become impracticable. “In North Hollywood, there are now more medical pot clubs than there are Starbucks. In fact, the co-founder of the California medical pot referendum has now said that most of the medical pot dispensaries in California are ‘little more than dope dealers with store fronts.’”