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Getting a Medical Card in Tennessee

Updated on November 19, 2021.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Getting a Medical Marijuana Prescription in TN

When it comes to medical marijuana, the southern regions of the United States are a hard sell. Many states have a low-THC medical cannabis program like Tennessee. And a limited number of qualifying health conditions. In states with restrictive medical marijuana programs, patients feel that they are not given sufficient potency THC to cope with symptoms. And advocacy groups hope for further medical cannabis reform to expand the MMJ program in Tennessee. 

Medical Marijuana in Tennessee (2021 Update)

The expansion of the medical marijuana program in Tennessee was not everything patients were expecting in 2021. On May 27, 2021, new legislation slightly expanded the list of medical conditions to qualify for a Tennessee marijuana card. 

But what was positive news is that a study is now funded to see whether Tennessee can enact a medical cannabis program that is similar to other states. One with greater flexibility in terms of medicinal cannabis products and additional qualifying health conditions. 

Tennessee medical cardholders may currently only be provided with THC oil that is 0.90% in potency or less. Basically it is CBD oil. Many patients feel the low-THC cap is insufficient to help patients manage specific health symptoms like chronic pain. 

FAQs

Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Tennessee?

Patients over the age of eighteen (18) years may legally use low-THC CBD oil in Tennessee. To be eligible to apply for a medical cannabis card, patients must have one or more than one diagnosed health condition mandated by the state.

The qualifying health conditions to apply for a medical card in Tennessee include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer (Stage IV) or the treatment of related symptoms of wasting, nausea or pain due to end-stage cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Seizure Disorders (Epilepsy)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Sickle Cell Disease

Patients must have a letter from a physician licensed to practice in Tennessee, which attests to the qualifying health condition diagnosis. The letter must also indicate that conventional treatment methods were unsuccessful at managing symptoms for the patient. 

What Medical Marijuanas are Available in TN?

High-CBD and low-THC cannabis oil of 0.90% THC or lower is the only type of medical cannabis available for patients right now in Tennessee. No other kind of cannabis is available for legal use. 

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Tennessee Medical Card?

There is no official age requirement right now for medical cannabis in Tennessee. That is because of the limited low-THC oil available. However, patients younger than eighteen (18) years of age require a legal guardian or parent as a registered caregiver. 

Do I need to create my own MMJ patient profile?

Patients do not have to create their patient profiles. That is because there is technically no medical card in Tennessee. After a physician approves the use of low-THC cannabis oil for treatments, the patient is prescribed it like a standard medication. 

The doctor who completed your medical health evaluation may agree that low-THC cannabis is safe for you to use. And that it may help with your current symptoms. When that happens, the doctor will ‘prescribe’ your medical cannabis, which will be dispensed at a pharmacy. The potency and how much low-THC cannabis oil patients receive are up to the referring physician’s discretion.

Can I register my child for medical marijuana?

Yes. The only type of medical cannabis available for patients in Tennessee is low-THC of 0.91% potency or less. Parents with a child that has a chronic health condition or debilitating symptoms may apply to have the minor registered in the Tennessee medical cannabis program. 

Each child under the age of eighteen (18) years requires a caregiver to be designated. That is a parent or legal guardian responsible for the child. The caregiver can seek consultation with a physician about potency levels of cannabis oil. 

The Tennessee medical cannabis registered caregiver may purchase, pick up, and administer the cannabis oil to the child. According to the directions of the supervising physician. 

How can I become a caregiver for MMJ in TN?

Under State Bill 486, a Tennessee adult over the age of twenty-one (21) years can become a caregiver in the statewide medical cannabis program. A caregiver is responsible for assisting a minor by purchasing low-THC cannabis oil and following physician-provided guidelines.

Caregivers in Tennessee may not provide assistance to more than ten patients. The application fee to become a caregiver is $65. The caregiver may not work for, be a part owner or stockholder, or an employee of any dispensary, testing facility, or licensed cannabis provider. 

The caregiver must also provide a letter indicating the relationship between the provided caregiver and the qualified patient. This is an important part of the caregiver application process to demonstrate that the caregiver is known and trusted by the patient.

How do I renew my Tennessee medical card?

There is currently no medical card to renew in Tennessee. No medical cards are issued to patients right now because Tennessee does not have a legalized cannabis program for qualified patients. 

What if I lose my medical card in TN?

There is no medical card issued for patients in Tennessee. So, the good news is, you can’t misplace your TN medical card. 

Where do you get medical marijuana in Tennessee?

For now, you can’t get medical cannabis in Tennessee. You can buy low-THC cannabidiol or CBD. 

When did medical marijuana in TN become legal?

Medical marijuana is not legalized in Tennessee at the time of writing. 

The History of Medical Marijuana in Tennessee

April, 2015—Senate Bill 280 makes it legal for a patient to possess and use marijuana oil if they have a medical card from another state. However, the visiting patient must have a written lawful order or recommendation from another state. 

The legislation also requires: ”Proof that the person or the person’s immediate family member has been diagnosed with intractable seizures by a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine who is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Tennessee.”

Source Web 2021: wapp.capitol.ten.gov

March, 2021—House Representatives Janice Bowling and Iris Rudder filed bills to legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee. Specifically to treat severe medical conditions. The bill was filed on March 23, 2021, but died in the Senate.

SB 0854 and HB 0621 would have created a bonafide medical cannabis program in Tennessee. The proposed legislation also contained a framework for licensing cultivators, processors and governing the transportation and selling of cannabis through retail dispensaries. 

Source Web 2021: capitol.tn.gov

 

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Tennessee Medical Cannabis Commission

710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
Email: tn.health@tn.gov

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Powerful Words

strongly-worded editorial in The Chattanoogan newspaper published on March 6, 2017, showed support for a workable Tennessee medical marijuana program. It criticized the state’s health commissioner for saying that expanding the program would do more harm than good. The editorial stated that “the swamp of deceit” state leaders are trying to foist on citizens “could not get any deeper.” It was written by a representative of a medical marijuana advocacy group, Safe Access Tennessee.

The commissioner’s opinion, the editorial stated, is 25 years out of date and is “out of step” with many medical professionals. According to the editorial, anywhere from 75-80 percent of doctors are in favor of medical marijuana, a number that mirrors the percentage of the general public that supports the use of medicinal weed. However, because U.S. federal law continues to insist cannabis offers no medical value, that continues to justify marijuana’s inclusion on the Schedule I list of controlled substances.

To be notified when the State of Tennessee passes legislature becoming a legal medical marijuana state, please sign up to the Tennessee waitlist.

Are Medicinal Products Low in THC Effective?

The 2016 bill was intended to help bring some relief to patients suffering from seizures due to epilepsy. But again, the law as currently written is unworkable. However, even if more patients had realistic access to CBD oil, the jury is still out as to whether or not it would benefit them.

Marijuana extracts that are low in THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis) have shown promise in helping to treat people suffering from epileptic seizures, but these patients represent an extremely low percentage of all seriously ill people in Tennessee. The vast majority – as high as 98 percent – of patients suffer something different from epilepsy. That means nearly all patients are cut out of the Tennessee medical marijuana program.

There is also research that indicates CBD may actually need the presence of other compounds in the cannabis plant to be effective. While this research is not conclusive, many patients suffering from seizure disorders report that THC helps to not only reduce the number of seizures, but their intensity as well.

Tennessee Qualification

Until the Tennessee medical marijuana program changes, access to CBD oil will be severely limited. Check our section on who qualifies for medical cannabis in Tennessee for more information. Hopefully, one day a common-sense approach will result in a truly workable program that can bring relief to those who need it.

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Laws

The State of Tennessee changed the punishment for third and subsequent convictions for possessing a half-ounce or less of weed. The penalties used to be one to six years in jail and a fine of as much as $3,000. In 2016, however, the legislature changed the law to reduce the penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor. The law now states that anyone caught possessing a half an ounce or less will face up to a year in jail and a $250 fine for a first offense.

Tennessee Qualification

Find out Who Qualifies for Marijuana in Tennessee in our definitive guide of Tennessee’s qualification guidelines. Read up on medical conditions that are covered under Tennessee’s medical marijuana program, age restrictions, criminal conviction restrictions, and more.

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Laws

Read Tennessee’s Full Medical Marijuana Laws to gain full specific knowledge of Tennessee’s exact legal guidelines without interpretation.

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Card

Find out how to obtain a(n) Tennessee Medical Marijuana Card with our guide to Tennessee’s state medicinal marijuana ID program. Some states require that you obtain your card prior to obtaining your medicine, so read here first to ensure that you know Tennessee’s requirements.

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