Ex-Congressman of Kentucky Heads Medical Marijuana Push

A former Kentucky state representative has created a group that will seek to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Mike Ward, who served as a Democratic congressman from 1995-1997, announced Monday that he had formed the nonprofit group Legalize Kentucky Now. Ward said “it’s time” that people no longer be treated as criminals for using cannabis to relieve pain and other ailments.

“This is absolutely something that is going to happen in this country and this state,” he said.

Ward served as Representative of Kentucky’s Third Congressional District, which comprises Louisville, before losing a bid for reelection to Anne Northup, a Republican. He said he has been a proponent of medical marijuana legalization since seeing how his brother Alexander, who died of AIDS in 1992, used cannabis to ease his symptoms.

Legalize Kentucky Now will likely find an ally in House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who tried unsuccessfully to pass a medical marijuana bill last year. Stumbo said he would try again to get the measure through Congress this legislative session if the opportunity arises.

Governor Matt Bevin has also said that he would support legalizing medical marijuana.

State Senator Perry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, has also filed the “Cannabis Freedom Act,” which would regulate marijuana like alcohol, although it is unlikely that the bill will gain much traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond

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