- D.H. Reilly
Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Kentucky Legislature Needs Public Support
Kentuckians want to finally be able to treat their qualifying conditions with medical marijuana. The question now is do your representatives know or even care?
We told you last week about the “LETT’s Grow” bill that has been introduced in the Senate by Democratic Senators David Yates and Morgan McGarvey. LETT would not only create a medical marijuana market here, but it would also legalize recreational use.
We also updated you about Representative Jason Nemes’ ongoing efforts to pass medical marijuana. Nemes introduced medical marijuana bills in both 2020 and 2021, and his 2020 version even passed the House before dying in a Senate committee. His latest attempt at the bill is deliberately vague and open ended, in hopes to entice fellow GOP legislators to support the bill with the idea that they’d be able to shape the Bluegrass State’s medical marijuana market.
And while we know there is plenty of support for cannabis reform among Kentucky voters, it looks like both of these efforts may be stillborn, thanks to stubborn state legislators who refuse to accept the will of voters and the overwhelming scientific evidence of medical marijuana’s safety and efficacy.
Support for Medical Marijuana Remains Strong Among Kentuckians
Kentuckians overall support medical marijuana, in fact, 90% believe doctors should be able to prescribe cannabis to their patients. That number is consistent with polls measuring support for medical marijuana from Americans in general. Most Americans generally already have access to medical marijuana, as thirty-seven states have legalized medical cannabis under a doctor’s care.
Kentucky Businesses Support Medical Marijuana
And it isn’t just the voters at large who have been speaking up for medical marijuana. Kentucky businesses, for example, could gain economically from cannabis reform.
Josh Henderson, owner of Total CBD in Louisville, told Louisville NBC affiliate WAVE that he thinks the revenue a medical marijuana bill could generate would outweigh any concerns about legalizing the medicine. He says waiting for Kentucky to join the 21st century on this issue has been frustrating.
“Well, it’s kind of a rollercoaster,” Henderson said. “You know, sometimes you think we can get it over the finish line and sometimes we can’t. And everything that Kentucky needs from a huge financial economic impact, it’s all right there with medical and recreational.”
Henderson isn’t wrong about the economic benefits of medical marijuana. The Columbus Dispatch of Mississippi is one news source reporting on the economic benefits the state has seen since their medical marijuana bill was passed. One can only imagine what kind of boom the state will have once patients can actually walk into dispensaries and purchase medicine.
Medical Marijuana Also Supported by Kentucky Veterans
Support from veterans is considered key to getting medical marijuana markets established in Southern states that still resist legalization. Thankfully, Kentucky veterans are making their voices heard on the issue.
Jeremy Harrell, founder and CEO of Veterans Club, Inc., told WAVE that he thinks medical marijuana would help thousands of veterans who are currently suffering from the physical and emotional sacrifices they made for our country.
“Veterans are going to do what they have to do to feel better, whether it’s legal or illegal unfortunately,” Harrell said. “And I know that if medical marijuana was prescribed, there would be less substance abuse, in my opinion, among the veteran population.”
Despite just Harrell’s opinion, it’s proven that medical marijuana can help alleviate substance abuse among veterans (or anyone, for that matter). For example, medical marijuana patients are less likely to use opiods for pain relief, and the overuse of those medications is what led to the opioid crisis. Americans’ overuse of opioids is such a serious issue that the CDC has labeled it an epidemic. Similarly, patients who use medical marijuana are less likely to self-medicate by abusing alcohol and other drugs.
Kentucky Wants Medical Marijuana, Lawmakers Still Unswayed
Unfortunately, despite the ample scientific evidence of medical marijuana’s safety and efficacy and the wishes of voters, business people, and veterans alike, many lawmakers are still refusing to help suffering Kentuckians find relief.
Last week, House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade said he’s still “on the fence” about medical marijuana, and Senate Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he will oppose the bill no matter the wishes of the people of Kentucky.
“I know my constituents are for it,” Thayer said, “but this is a republic, and they elect us to go to Frankfort and make decisions on their behalf—and if they don’t like it, they can take it out on me in the next election.”
Within the last week, Thayer further voiced his reluctance to support medical marijuana, telling Spectrum News 1 that “I’m not in support of medical or recreational marijuana.”
Fortunately, Thayer isn’t threatening to slow down or kill medical marijuana legislation in the Senate. “I won’t stand in the way if there are 20 Republicans in the Senate who want to vote to pass medical marijuana,” Thayer said. “People like to go to their corners when people don’t agree with them. They appear to want to get angry and in fill the dumpster fire known as Twitter with lots of vitriol. Y’all, that’s fine. I got a thick skin. I can handle it.”
It’s Simple: Kentuckians Need Medical Marijuana, and Lawmakers Need Kentuckians’ Votes
Senator Thayer may be able to handle vitriol, but his career can’t handle losing the support of his constituents. And his constituents want medical marijuana in Kentucky.
As Mississippians can already tell you, when voters make enough noise, they get results, like Mississipp’s shiny new medical marijuana law.
If you’d like to see either of these bills have a fighting chance at bringing relief to suffering Kentuckians, let your Senators know about it here and tell Representatives how you feel here.
Let Us Help You Get Ready for the Relief of Medical Marijuana
You don’t have to wait for the Kentucky Legislature to get with the times in order for you to get started on your medical marijuana journey.
Reserve an evaluation online today with one of our qualified, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you as soon as Kentucky’s medical marijuana market is up and running. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation by reserving an evaluation today!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.