Kentucky Governor Considers Next Steps On Medical Marijuana As Committee Confirms 90% Support Legalization

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s office released a report Friday revealing new findings from a medical marijuana advisory committee, which he established in June. As per the report, “Kentuckians want medical cannabis legalized.”

Last June, following the bill’s failure in the Senate, Beshear issued an executive order to appoint 17 experts to the panel that would examine public opinion on medical marijuana (MMJ) legislation. The committee will advise the governor on providing access to MMJ for Kentuckians who deal with a myriad of medical conditions.

Opioids Don’t Help

So far, the committee revealed that Kentuckians who have various chronic conditions are not getting relief with painkillers and opioids and rightly fear addiction. The governor added that research reveals that cannabis overdose is not possible.

Beshear stated in the report that Kentucky residents are traveling to nearby legal states to purchase MMJ and would like to get back home without breaking the law.

He noted that it has been confirmed that military veterans successfully treat PTSD symptoms with cannabis.

“Polling suggests 90% of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis. Our team traveled the state to talk directly to Kentuckians, and they found our people do indeed overwhelmingly support it,” Beshear stated. “I appreciate the work of those who participated, and I am taking this information into consideration as I analyze what steps I can take to legalize medical cannabis for those suffering from chronic, debilitating medical conditions.”

Practically No Opposition

Justice and Public Safety secretary Kerry Harvey, the committee co-chair said there was no opposition at town hall meetings when discussing the issue.

“Everyone who spoke supported legalizing medical cannabis in Kentucky,” Harvey said. “We heard from many Kentuckians that use cannabis for its beneficial medical effects but can only do so by breaking the law as it now exists.”

Ray Perry, co-chair of the committee and secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet, stressed that the nation “is dealing with a critical crisis from the overuse of addictive opioids. The people we heard from are looking for pain relief that allows them to live useful, productive lives,” he said. “We heard about family trauma stemming from unresolved pain and addictive painkillers. We also heard the frustration that politics deprives them of legal access to an efficacious treatment available to an overwhelming majority of Americans.”

Beshear's next steps remain unclear, although it's worth noting that in July he talked about the possibility of taking executive action to legalize some form of medical marijuana.

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Einerhand on Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons

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