A legislative push to bring medical cannabis to Tennessee has failed again.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 Tuesday to kill Sen. Janice Bowling’s bill that would have established a medical cannabis system in Tennessee. The Tullahoma Republican has carried similar bills in previous legislative sessions.

The failed effort comes as drug-overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years in Tennessee. Nearly 4,000 people died by overdose in Tennessee in 2021, up from just over 3,000 in 2020 and more than 2,000 in 2019. Most of the 2021 deaths were caused by opioids, and medical cannabis supporters have suggested legalizing medical use of the plant could help reduce those numbers.

State lawmakers in 2021 established a commission to study the possibility of introducing medical cannabis in Tennessee, but only if the federal government removes the plant from its Schedule 1 list of drugs with no medical uses.

Other cannabis-related legislation on the docket includes an effort to regulate synthetically derived cannabis products like Delta-8.

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