Opponents try to kill buzz surrounding medical marijuana

09/21/2018 01:08 PM

FRANKFORT- Medical Marijuana opponents were hoping they could

Friday, Lawmakers heard from those who oppose legalizing marijuana for medicinal use—including Kevin Sabet, Director of the Drug Policy Institute who expressed concerns about potential risks he says could arise from making the drugs medically available. To begin with he says there is no difference between medical and recreational marijuana.

“Often times the products are sold very similarly. In Colorado, basically what most stores did was install a curtain in the middle of a recreational store and separated identical inventory, one had a green cross on it. One didn’t.” said Sabet.

As Kentucky continues to deal with a devastating opioid epidemic, medical marijuana advocates have said marijuana could be the answer. But Sabet says, substituting one drug for another isn’t the way to tackle this issue.

“I worry of expanding marijuana during an opioid epidemic,” he said. “There have been studies that show. well maybe opioid use gets reduced if you use marijuana, those have been largely debunked by top researchers.”

Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale,—a vocal supporter of medical marijuana told the speakers his experience turning to medical marijuana…and why he believes legalizing it is safer than getting it off the black market.

“I’m obviously an advocate. I just feel we would have access to clean products instead of getting it off the street.” he said.

Sabet said he agreed with Sen. Seum that he doesn’t want anyone to suffer but is apprehensive to open up a market to for profit companies.

“I think where it gets worrisome is when we open this up to a massive industry making very wild claims about conditions you did not mention, and selling things we do know and understand.” responded Sabet.

The packed committee room included long-time advocates of medical marijuana—-who feel the concern over regulations of the product are unfounded.

“The information was old smokescreen type of behavior. Regulations are extremely tight, I’ve been in Colorado for the past four years,” explained Ashley Taylor, and advocate for medicinal marijuana. “The safety and the labeling are a non-issue at this point. We have everything so tight, a lot of labeling more extreme than that of the FDA.”

No bill has been filed yet—but Reps. Jason Nemes and Diane St. Ogne say they will be prefiling a bill for the 2019 session.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com


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