Cannabis advocates and stakeholders in Kentucky did not get a happy ending when the legislative session ended leaving the state among the 13 states where marijuana remains completely illegal.
However, the sentiment around marijuana legalization in the Bluegrass State might be changing as Governor Andy Beshear (D) recently cleared the way for a cannabis research center to open. The governor approved a bill for it and used his line-item veto to expand the center's work and enable more freedom in choosing an oversight board.
Shortly after, Beshear said he'd thought about taking more action to make medical marijuana legally accessible in the state.
“The legal analysis is not yet finalized, but I do think that there is going to be room for at least some executive action," Beshear said last month.
New Advisory Committee To Report On Patient Access Options
On Tuesday, Beshear issued an executive order to appoint 17 experts to the panel that would examine public opinion statewide on the issue of medical cannabis legislation. The committee will advise the governor on providing access to medical cannabis for Kentuckians who deal with a myriad of medical conditions.
“The committee will come together for the first time in the near future to schedule town hall meetings that will be held throughout the commonwealth,” the notice says. “Townhall meetings will be open to the public for discussion and feedback from residents, local leaders, health care providers, and advocacy groups. Meeting details will be released in advance.
“Polling suggests 90 percent of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis, while at the same time, far too many in our state who could benefit from it are suffering,” the governor said.
He stressed that more needs to be done to provide access to medical cannabis and that he wants to “make sure every voice is heard” now that he is “weighing executive action.”
Beshear’s office also plans to kick off a website “where Kentuckians can learn more about the upcoming work of the advisory committee and submit their own feedback.”
Newly Appointed Members
The new members of the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee are:
- Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Kerry Harvey
- Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet Ray Perry
- Dr. Amber Cann of La Grange, pharmacy coach and adjunct professor at Spalding University
- Julie Cantwell of Rineyville, advocate with Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana
- Jennifer Cave of Louisville, member, Stites and Harbison
- Eric Crawford of Maysville, advocate
- Cookie Crews of Frankfort, commissioner of the Department of Corrections
- Dr. John Farmer of Louisville, OB/GYN, medical director of Solid Ground Counseling and Recovery, addiction treatment provider in Louisville, Morehead, and Hazard
- Dr. Jonathan Hatton of Whitesburg, family medicine, Mountain Comprehensive Health
- Brian Jointer of Jeffersonville, Indiana, certified public health worker in Louisville
- Dr. Nick Kouns of Lexington, internal medicine, Clark Regional Medical Center
- Alex Kreit of Cincinnati, Ohio, director of the Chase Center on Addiction Law and Policy at Northern Kentucky University
- Dr. Linda McClain of Louisville, OB/GYN, Commonwealth Counseling Center
- Andrew Sparks of Lexington, former assistant U.S. Attorney
- Dee Dee Taylor of Louisville, chief executive officer, 502 Hemp Wellness Center
- Julie Wallace of Morganfield, Union County Attorney
- Kristin Wilcox of Beaver Dam, co-founder of Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis
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