KY Judiciary Committee hears from family who says they need medical marijuana

09/07/2018 08:34 PM

FRANKFORT —For the second time in as many weeks, medical marijuana was on the agenda in Frankfort.

Along with hearing more about a bill that Representatives Diane St. Onge and Jason Nemes are working on, lawmakers also heard from a family who says medical marijuana would benefit them.



Playing with her daughter, she hides it well, but Cassie Everett says daily life is hard for her. She explained, “I get up and go to work. I do not sleep well and they say that is because of my medication. They said my medication basically has my brain active all the time and so I’m constantly getting up. But at the same time, because I take so much medication I’m constantly groggy and just trying to get through the day.”
The Louisville teacher was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 11 and since then, it has gotten worse. Lifting up a gallon zipper bag, Everett told lawmakers, “Currently this is my daily medication. Twice a day. And I personally would like the option for medical marijuana to be off this medication and the side effects. They make me sleepy. I have trouble breathing, taking. I mean, just having that option would be wonderful. “
Everett and her family, husband Taylor and 9-year old Lexi, spoke before the state’s Interim Judiciary Committee to explain how medical marijuana would help her family.
Her husband Taylor testified, “As a husband, when you look at your wife and you go to the doctor and you say, what can I do because today you woke up and your legs aren’t working properly, you can’t run, you can’t breathe. Well, lets go to the doctor. What can we do. Well, your options are you can take these pills and you can keep dealing with this or you have seizures. And when I ask her, well I go online on all the epilepsy support groups because there are hundreds of thousands of people with this throughout the country and everyone talks about how they have this option of medical marijuana and how it has changed their life, it is very very frustrating as a husband to look at my wife and say, welp, there’s something out there, but there’s nothing I can do for you.”
The family were called as guests of St. Onge and Nemes to help garner support for a bill they are working on that would legalize medical marijuana.
“This bill is an alternative method that provides to our Kentuckians who have undergone a patient-client relationship with a doctor traditional therapy which has not been effective for them, or if it has been effective in alleviating some of the pain, it has reduced their quality of life to such a substandard level because of the heavy medication they’re on,” explained St. Onge, a Republican from Fort Wright.
Nemes became emotional saying people like the Everetts are why he wants this bill to succeed.
The Republican from Louisville testified, “What we know, not speculation, what we know is that medical marijuana helps people. This side of heaven there is no panacea, but this a tool that our neighbors and our families should have.”
Already, many lawmakers, including Senator Dan Seum ,say they will support this bill.
Seum started tearing up when he spoke to the Everetts. He said, “You know you remind me of my grand-daughter. Her name is Taylor and we have 24 grandchildren and we’ve been very blessed and we’ve have this one child who was diagnosed with epilepsy at 11. So all though high school she had no social life whatsoever. Got stuck at home with her daddy. Her daddy was very protective of her. She turns 22 years old, and she discovers this thing called cannabis. My granddaughter is illegal today. She’s got a man in her life now. She has an apartment. She’s working for a company now full-time. She asked me not to mention the company she’s working for because she’s afraid they will find out she’s illegal and they might want to test her. But this has been a miracle for that young lady. She now has a life and obviously I’m very much in support of this legislation.”
But others, like Representative Kim Moser, have reservations.
“You know we have plenty of organic plants, plenty of organic products that have been turned into medications because we have the FDA approval process and I just want to know, I guess why is it a problem for marijuana to go through the FDA approval process,” said Moser, a Republican from Taylor Mill.
Everett says he hopes Moser comes around, but says he understands her hesitation.
“When it comes to something this complex, that has the issues that have been tied to it, you want things to be safe, right. I think the issue is though- I don’t know what she’s gone through in the past or not, I just know from us, seeing what the FDA approved drugs have done to us, and then you read the few things that possibly marijuana could do and how it’s helped so many people, I just don’t think it’s close to making it worth waiting for them to go through all of their processes when they’ve approved things that are way worse,” Taylor Everett said.
30 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
Everett says they pay about $500 a month on their prescription co-payments, but with medical marijuana , they would save quite a bit of money on medications.
Taylor Everett told lawmakers, “While it’s illegal here, we looked into what these could cost if we were to go and travel. The largest amount, which was a bottle of oil was about $300 and that would last her three months.”
He says not relying on traditional medicines would have an additional benefit. Asking his daughter to stand, Everett said, “When she was born, she was born with one femur shorter than the other one and we’ve asked, we’ve done tests, genetic tests and everything that could possible cause this and the main thing that can cause this that they have said is that medicine.” Everett added, “When I think about the dangers of medical marijuana, which i understand there are some, versus what we currently have now, I don’t even think it’s close.”
The lawmakers say they are working with doctors and law enforcement to get their input, hoping this will be the year medical marijuana helps the Everetts. They expect to pre-file the bill in late October or early November.

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