In Tennessee, a seriously ill seizure patient can get a doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis, but can’t buy from a state-licensed dispensary or cultivate his own marijuana. In fact, patients must obtain medical cannabis oil lawfully in another state and transport it back to Tennessee and the oil must contain no more than nine-tenths of one percent or less of THC. No other form of marijuana is legal in the State. The consequences of possession, sale, or cultivation of cannabis in Tennessee carry high incarceration stays and steep fines.
Tennessee’s Governor signed this limited legalization bill into law in May 2015 to improve an even more limited bill passed in 2015. Anyone following medical cannabis state laws knows that participating in state regulated programs usually requires state residency and transporting CBD across state borders is a federal offense.
Seth Green is one of those patients. He’s had Cerebral Palsy all of his life and began having seizures when he was 13 or 14 years old, which led to anxiety, depression, panic attacks and early signs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Green depended on a daily cocktail of pills to treat his pain until, in 2012, he heard Jacqueline Patterson’s story while researching medical cannabis. In a video in which Patterson, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and suffers from a sever stutter and major pain, transforms into a calm, steady speaker after three hits of cannabis is amazing. Green has been around marijuana but had never connected how beneficial it could be for him until then.
Since seeing that video, Green has met Patterson in person and calls her his ‘hero.’ He now medicates with cannabis to control his seizures and pain. And, what about all of the pills? Green flushed them down the toilet.
“Marijuana is safer,” says Green. “If God put this plant on the Earth, surely it is here for us to use.”
Green, like Patterson, is an example of how medical cannabis helps patients and the struggles they go through to be free of pain. He’s become fairly well-known in Tennessee in part due to his Green Pastures Facebook page and to the medical cannabis rallies he coordinates in the state. He was tapped to testify on behalf of Tennessee’s first medical marijuana bill in 2014, when Representative Sherry Jones first introduced it. And, thanks to a scholarship he applied for and received from Americans For Safe Access, Green has become more involved with the organization and recently testified in Washington, D.C. at an AFSA conference.
“The CBD law in Tennessee isn’t broad enough,” says Green. “I have friends who are suffering needlessly and six who have died from pill overdoses. Something different has to happen.”
There’s another reason Green has become such a strong advocate for medical cannabis.
“The fact that cannabis is a plant created by God for our healing and that it is illegal infringes on my religious freedom. In the Bible, there are references to cannabis. For instance, the holy anointing oil described in Exodus 30:22-23 is made from a substance identified as cannabis by researchers,” says Green. “In the New Testament, Jesus anointed his disciples with oil and sent them out to do the same. Mark 6:13 says ‘And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.’”
“Why should something so natural be illegal?” says Green.
Green recently learned that he may need another operation, but wants to hold off. There’s still much to be done to push for better medical cannabis laws in Tennessee. He continues to educate through his Greener Pastures page and coordinate rallies to bring attention to the benefits of medical cannabis.
The future for this courageous man is bright even with the odds supposedly stacked against him. He’s made incredible connections within the cannabis industry when he attended Americans For Safe Access Unity Conference
His next rally will be held on October 30, 2015, at 2:00pm in Johnson City. Called the ‘Medical Cannabis Costume Rally,’ the group plans to meet at the Farmer’s Market and march to the rally spot on University Parkway.
To learn more about the efforts Seth Green is doing in Tennessee, follow his Greener Pastures Facebook page.