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Lawmakers talk medical marijuana, legalized gambling
Legislative breakfast for web.jpg
State Rep. Rush Bricken, left, shakes hands with Dr. Wally Bigbee at Friday morning's Legislative Breakfast at Central Church of Christ.

Rush Bricken talks about education

Rush Bricken speaks at Friday's Legislative Breakfast

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Medical marijuana and legalized gambling were two of the topics of discussion Friday morning during the Chamber’s annual Legislative Breakfast.

Tennessee state Sen. Janice Bowling and House Rep. Rush Bricken spoke at the banquet held at Central Church of Christ. State Rep. Paul Sherrell was expected to attend, but was absent.

Bowling focused mainly on legalizing medical marijuana and bringing fiber optic internet service to Warren and surrounding counties. The senator is working hard to combat the opioid crisis, which is currently affecting a large number of Tennesseans, by making medical cannabis available to those suffering from pain, epilepsy, side effects of chemotherapy, PTSD and other mental and physical issues.

“After much research and statistics proving the medical benefits of cannabis, I’ve changed my stance on the use of medical marijuana and have found it to be a great option,” said Bowling.

In Tennessee, a combination of CBD and THC are currently legal and helping with at least 23 conditions. Thirty-three states have already legalized medical marijuana, Bowling said, and the medical cannabis system is working well in those states. She is hoping the medical marijuana bill can pass by the end of the year.

One thing Sen. Bowling does not agree with is a gambling bill Bricken promoted during the Legislative Breakfast. During his first year on Capitol Hill, Bricken is learning many new things when it comes to being a legislator.

Bricken discussed a bill that will bring $45 million to education lottery funds, local governments and cities by legalizing online sports gambling. Bricken added he would like 5 percent of the funds to be used for gambling addictions if the bill passes.

“Since gambling is currently happening in our state anyways, I believe the state should profit from these activities,” said Bricken.

Sen. Bowling and Rep. Bricken were happy to inform Warren County citizens about the current issues and to present their takes on particular upcoming bills.

 “There are a lot of fresh ideas and fresh blood in Nashville, and that’s a good thing. We’re introducing some good legislation this year,” said Bowling.