In an online poll conducted by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee, the overwhelming majority of respondents backed medical cannabis reforms. The committee released its full report last week, which showed 98.4% of Kentuckians backed the reforms with just 1.36% opposed.
The polling coincided with a series of Town Hall meetings by the committee from July 6 through 25.
“Polling suggests 90% of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis. Our team traveled the state to talk directly to Kentuckians, and they found our people do indeed overwhelmingly support it. I appreciate the work of those who participated, and I am taking this information into consideration as I analyze what steps I can take to legalize medical cannabis for those suffering from chronic, debilitating medical conditions.” — Beshear in a press release
In a statement, Kerry Harvey, co-chair of the committee and secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, noted the advisory committee did not hear any opposition at their town hall meetings.
“Everyone who spoke supported legalizing medical cannabis in Kentucky,” Harvey said in a statement. “We heard from many Kentuckians that use cannabis for its beneficial medical effects but can only do so by breaking the law as it now exists. Many of these Kentuckians must leave the commonwealth to legally obtain medical cannabis in one of the 38 states where it is legal.”
A military veteran who spoke at the meetings described his daily struggle after being prescribed 13 medications that weren’t effective, which left him contemplating suicide. After turning to cannabis, he said, “Within a year, I didn’t drink and was off 12 of the 13 medications.”
“I still have all those injuries and disabilities, but I can function. I can live,” he said during his remarks. “I can have friendships and conversations again.”
The report from the committee includes stories from attendees, ranging from parents with chronically ill children who have been helped with cannabis, to physicians who back the reforms.
Dr. John Farmer, an advisory committee member, OB/GYN, and addiction treatment provider who also serves as medical director of Solid Ground Counseling and Recovery, noted that he has “no knowledge of any reported overdoses from cannabis.”
“It is not possible to die from consuming too much cannabis. By legalizing medical cannabis, physicians would be allowed to prescribe THC products instead of opioids,” he said. “This not only gives doctors more options for treating patients but also helps stop addiction before it starts.”
During the last legislative session, Beshear backed the passage of medical cannabis reforms but they were blocked by Republicans in the state Senate. In response, Beshear formed the committees and said he planned to look for options to legalize medical cannabis in the state via executive action.
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