In a report to Gov. Andy Beshear via Zoom, the Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee reported overwhelming support for legalizing medical cannabis in the state. The 17-person committee held a series of town halls across the state to hear from citizens about the issue.
“Everyone [who spoke] expressed a positive opinion and were very supportive of medical cannabis in Kentucky,” said Kerry Harvey, co-chair of the committee. “We did not hear one bit of opposition in these town halls.”
Of the 3,313 comments on their website, 98.5% were in support and only 48 people were in opposition. The committee also received an expression of opposition from the Kentucky’s Narcotics Officer Association.
Harvey said the committee heard predominantly from people suffering from chronic illnesses, caretakers and physicians. All of whom said that medical cannabis was a preferable alternative to opioids, a choice for many who suffer from painful disorders.
“We heard from a lady in Marshall County who suffers from chronic migraines that are sometimes so strong, they can cause a stroke,” said Harvey. “An out-of-state specialist recommended to her that she try cannabis or start using fentanyl to treat her pain. And I don’t have to tell you all how dangerous fentanyl is.”
The Kentuckians who voiced their support of medical marijuana also voiced their fear of legal repercussions from the state for something they view as seeking medical treatment.
Harvey, who has a background in prosecuting, said that he joined the committee with an open mind and found the town halls to be truly educational.
“We heard all of these stories and there’s no question that these people are telling the truth,” said Harvey. “There’s no question they’re sincere, and the reframe we heard over and over again was ‘We’re not criminals, we just need help, and we don’t want the Commonwealth to make us criminals for it.”
Gov. Beshear thanked the committee for giving a voice to Kentuckians who said were being ignored by the state legislature.
“This isn’t a red or blue issue,” said Gov. Beshear. “Somebody who can get something legally in another state, shouldn’t be a criminal in ours.”
There are 38 states that currently have medical marijuana access.
The Governor said his team was doing legal research into what his office could do to legalize medical marijuana, but said that anything comprehensive would have to pass the legislature.
If you want to voice your opinion on medical cannabis in Kentucky, leave a comment on the committee’s website here. And you can watch the full meeting below:
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