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Now is the time for medicinal cannabis

column-healthTennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner has stated that expanding medical marijuana does more harm than good to any additional legalization. In our opinion, the swamp of deceit foisted on Tennesseans could not get any deeper.

“Currently, the weight of evidence is that when marijuana is used as medicine, it will do more harm than good to the overall population of our state,” Dreyzehner said.

Dreyzehner’s opinion is a bit out of date — about 25 years out of date and decidedly out of step with medical professionals and citizens of our state.

As Dr. Sanjay Gupta of has said: “I am here to apologize. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States (regarding cannabis), and I apologize for my own role in that.”

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David C. Hairston

Physician support for medicinal cannabis mirrors the same (75-80 percent) support as the general public holds. Safe Access Tennessee, a non-profit group devoted solely to medicinal cannabis (not recreational legalization), would like citizens and our state legislators to examine certain significant and material facts with respect to medicinal cannabis.

The key rationale for a state medicinal cannabis program is to protect our state’s citizens from out-of-touch and distant federal bureaucracies, particularly the Drug Enforcement Agency and its related entities, which have fought a 45-year losing battle against the cannabis plant. This campaign of “systematically misleading” started with the proposition there is no medicinal value in cannabis.

The falsehood that there is no medicinal value in cannabis is written into U.S. federal law and has been a consistent theme to justify large governmental budgets for law enforcement. Every medical advance related to cannabis has been opposed, slowed, delayed and harassed by DEA officials more dedicated to their bureaucratic power than patients’ suffering or the advancement of medicine. That is what Dr. Gupta means by “systematically misleading.”

The Federal stranglehold on cannabis continued even after the discovery of the Endocabannioid System (ECS) in 1989. This unique system of the human body controls the immune system, appetite, and pain (separately from the central nervous system), and is one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. It seems God designed our bodies to use cannabinoids (inherent in cannabis and other plants) to maintain health—the exact opposite of the DEA propaganda (e.g., cannabis kills cancer cells by balancing the body’s immune functions—a scientific fact).

The ECS was discovered over 25 year ago, and only two FDA medicines have been approved when a free market could have generated hundreds, if not thousands, of viable medical alternatives. State medical cannabis programs are essential to the advancement of medicine for mankind.

The large medicinal potential of the ECS is being squandered by highly paid federal bureaucrats. The DEA stopped research authorized by the 2014 legislative session of the State of Tennessee (SB 2531) by not allowing cannabis to be grown at Tennessee Tech for academic research purposes. Our state legislature cannot let these restrictions on medical and scientific advancement stand.

Tennessee needs a medicinal cannabis program just to maintain our economic competitiveness in the area of advanced ECS health solutions. Nashville is the leading healthcare investment location in the country and our state laws needs to support this critical industry. We should restore our medical and economic freedom by passing and implementing the Medical Cannabis Act of 2017.as a whole.

David C. Hairston, CPA is the Chairman of the Board for Safe Access Tennessee, (safeaccesstn.org). an advocacy group affiliated with the Americans for Safe Access. Safe Access Tennessee advocates for medical cannabis only and holds no opinion on the legalization of alcohol or recreational marijuana.


Written by David C. Hairston, special to the Express. David C. Hairston, CPA is the Chairman of the Board for Safe Access Tennessee, an advocacy group affiliated with the Americans for Safe Access. Safe Access Tennessee advocates for medical cdannabis only and holds no opinion on the legalization of alcohol or recreational marijuana.Contact him at david.hairston@safeaccesstn.org.

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