Medical marijuana advocates testify at Tennessee capitol - WSMV Channel 4

Medical marijuana advocates testify at Tennessee capitol

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More and more Tennesseans are asking for a new prescription, but they're not going to the doctor. They're going to lawmakers, pleading for them to legalize medicinal marijuana in the Volunteer State.

Penn Mattison's 2-year-old daughter, Millie, has intractable epilepsy. Her seizures were so severe the family thought they would be planning her funeral.

"We thought she was going to pass away," Mattison said.

Her parents were willing to try anything, so, in January, they moved from Tennessee to Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal.

And within five weeks of taking the drug in an oil form, Mattison said it's been a miracle for his daughter. Mattison said Millie's seizures have dropped 75 percent.

"We have gone from 300 seizures a day to maybe one to 15," Mattison said.

And her medical bill has also dropped sufficiently.

"The medicine we were on was roughly $60,000 a month in the state of Tennessee," the father said. "It costs us roughly $60 a month in Colorado."

Mattison and six other medical marijuana advocates testified Wednesday before a Health sub-committee, including Toni Corbin, of Lebanon. Corbin's son, Wallace Peterson, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a motorcycle wreck.

"If God made this cannabis plant and God made us with this Cannabis receptor in our bodies, maybe God has a plan. Who are we to question and interfere in God's plan?," Corbin said.

The advocates are hoping Tennessee lawmakers will pass the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act. They say more than 60,000 Tennesseans with chronic medical conditions are buying marijuana illegally on the streets, and several of those who testified at the hearing admitted that.

"Passing the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act will keep thousands of cancer patients like me from having to go to the streets for this natural medicine," said cancer patient Cathy Walker.

The realistic chance of a medical marijuana bill passing in Tennessee is slim, but a poll conducted last month by Middle Tennessee State University showed three out of four residents support medical marijuana, and one-third of the state supports legalizing marijuana entirely.

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