Ailing Kentuckians make pitch for benefits of medical marijuana in second hearing of the session

01/16/2014 09:24 AM

Advocates of legalizing marijuana, specifically cannabis oil, for medical purposes tried to convince lawmakers about the potential benefits for Kentucky citizens who suffer from a variety of illnesses.

On Wednesday, the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare heard testimony on proposed legislation from Kentuckians with debilitating conditions who are advocating for the use of medicinal marijuana.

Longtime advocate and sponsor of the medicinal marijuana bill, Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, crafted Senate Bill 43 which would allow patients in Kentucky to qualify to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“There is great agreement in this room that cannabis is medicine. Now, where we approach this is going to be different,” Clark said.

Mary Gross, a resident of Junction City, attended the meeting with her 2-month old daughter Savannah. Gross explained that Savannah suffers from Ohtahara syndrome, an extremely debilitating progressive neurological disorder with an expected life expectancy of just 2-years.

Gross feels that Cannabidiol (CBD), a oil compound in cannabis which is believed to have positive medical effects, could help her infant daughter have a better quality of life.

“With the CBD oil, it’s had so much success in Colorado and other states, with the possibility of ending her seizures, that could give her a much better quality of life as well as prolong her life,” Gross said.

Gross said she is trying to be patient with the legislative process here in Kentucky, but because the state does not allow the use of medicinal marijuana she plans to establish residency in Colorado within the next month.

Eric Crawford of Maysville suffered injuries in a 1994 automobile accident which has left him in a wheelchair.

Crawford, who has numerous health disorders, says that using the cannabis oil would allow him to drop some of the medications that he’s been taking which have led to undesirable side effects.

“I wouldn’t have to take near the narcotics and narcotics put me out of my mind,” said Crawford. “I act crazy and I’m very well aware of it.”

While it is unlikely the General Assembly will pass legislation legalizing the plant this session, it is the first year in which both chambers have held hearings on the issue within the first two weeks of session.


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