Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, speaks at a fundraiser in Franklin, Tenn., on Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. Harwell is one of the lawmakers who have set up a panel for the state to look at legalizing medical marijuana. (Erik Schelzig, Associated Press)

A hold-out Dixie state has set up a panel to consider medical marijuana

Next year is the earliest legislation could be taken up

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Legislative leaders are setting up a special committee to examine whether medical marijuana should be legalized in Tennessee.

WKRN-TV reports that the panel appointed by House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville and Senate Speaker Randy McNally of Oak Ridge includes eight Republicans and two Democrats. The panel is co-chaired by Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby and Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville, two Republicans who this year sponsored unsuccessful medical marijuana legislation.

The committee can only make recommendations, and next year is the earliest legislation could be taken up.

Harwell, who is running for governor next year, has said her views on medical marijuana have evolved since her sister used it in place of opioids to treat pain from a broken back.

Information from: WKRN-TV