State Senator Perry Clark introduces Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act
07/06/2012 11:57 AM
A State Senator is honoring the work and memory of a former Kentucky Gubernatorial candidate by taking steps to legalize medicinal marijuana.
State Senator Perry Clark of Louisville held a press conference on Thursday introducing the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act. A group of around 100 people joined Senator Clark in the state capital of Frankfort and were welcomed with a video of Gatewood from 1991 discussing medical marijuana reform.
The legislation would change marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule II, making it legal for doctors to prescribe it to patients. The bill will also allow for patients to grow up to five marijuana plants, and possess up to five ounces per month.
Gatewood Galbraith’s family was in attendance and his daughter Molly said a few words regarding to the work her father had done to promote reform and why the passage of the piece of legislation is so important to them and the people of the state.
Senator Clark has introduced the legislation while he is up for reelection and stated he was aware that it could have an effect on his chances in the upcoming election but he has never been too concerned with election and reelection.
“It puts me in the boat with a lot of people,” Clark said on his use of the drug. “Think about how big this is.”
Clark said his use of the drug for severe back pain is a distraction from the real issue.
“People ask do you smoke pot? And I’m like yeah, come on do you,” Clark said (:45 in the video)
Clark cited the importance of the legislation as the driving force behind introducing it at this time.
Supporters of the use of medical marijuana followed the Senator’s speech with testimonies of how the medicinal effects of the drugs have worked for them and why they see it as a critical issue.
Jacob Jones, whose father was shot and killed in 1993 after a stand off with law enforcement over the growing of marijuana, was a key speaker at the press conference.
Jones told the story of his father, Gary Earl Shepard, Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart for injuries he received in war which Jones stated left him 50% disabled resulting in post traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and with severe depression. Shepard used marijuana as a way to cope with these ailments.
Another testimony in favor of the medicinal effects of the drug was given by Hannah Ison, a 21 year old college student studying pre-law who recognized the difficulty of telling her story due to the illegality of the issue. Ison described her ailments as a result of being physically abused as a child and the experience of being attacked after being given the date rape drug.
Senator Clark spoke again on the legislation and admitted that they do not have the votes to pass this piece of legislation and it would take people calling their representatives to insure the passage of the act.
Clark cited other states already passing pieces of legislation similar to his and that Kentucky can no longer be the first, but insisted passage of legislation allowing medical marijuana would happen eventually and he would like it passed sooner than later and will continue to work for passage.
Finally, Clark recognized that even if the legislation was to be passed in the state of Kentucky, it is still illegal at the Federal level leaving a chance for patients using the drug to be arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The legislation would have to start in the Senate Judiciary committee when the General Assembly resumes in January of 2013.
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