Kentucky legislators will look at both sides of medical marijuana issue

06/16/2016 09:00 AM

BURLINGTON – The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been an issue that’s been debated for years, and it appears that the Kentucky Legislature in now finally ready to fully explore and consider the issue during the 30-day 2017 session.

On July 8th at 10 a.m., the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations will meet in Frankfort to hear the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

The agenda will include pro and con presentations by law enforcement, medical marijuana advocates and the scientific community, including Dr. Gregory Barnes of the University of Louisville Medical School who will talk about research into the use of cannabidiol, known as CBD, to treat epileptic seizures in children.

Representatives of the Kentucky Medical Association is also set to give presentations. Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, will speak about using cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis.

Republican state Senator John Schickel, chair of the state Senate Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations, will preside over the meeting which will be held in the Capitol Annex, Room 129.

Schickel, says public feedback in support of Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, which would have regulated the cultivation, testing, processing, taxing and sale of marijuana to people 21 and over, prompted Schickel to organize a hearing to look at both sides of the issue.

“We had a lot of interest in it last session, so I decided as chairman of the committee to go ahead and have an extensive hearing during the interim, when we could give the topic the time it deserves,” Schickel said. “The legislators want to hear about that so they can make up their minds about what the best thing to do is.”

Schickel believes that there is a possibility that, after hearing from the experts, those lawmakers may be willing to pass a medical marijuana bill in some form to help some of Kentucky’s vulnerable citizens.

“I know in northern Kentucky, people are saying who are we to be telling people who think they can benefit from this for having cancer treatments, and hospice care, who are we to tell them, no, you can’t do this,” Schickel said. “I think there’s a pretty strong feeling that that’s not the role of government, that if people want to do that in that stage of their life, that should be decision between them and their doctor.”


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