Kentucky governor Andy Beshear is considering taking executive action to allow patients dealing with chronic pain as well as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to access medical marijuana. That is if the general assembly doesn’t advance the legislation.
Beshear reminded his Twitter followers that 90% of adult residents in Kentucky support medical marijuana and that the Team KY Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will make sure every voice is heard.
Ninety percent of Kentucky adults support medical cannabis and the Team KY Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will help ensure every voice is heard as I weigh executive action that could provide access for those suffering from chronic pain or our veterans suffering from PTSD.1/2
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) July 24, 2022
The governor’s note comes ahead of a town hall meeting scheduled to be held by KY Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee this week in Hopkinsville. The committee was established in June via Beshear’s executive order to have a panel of experts field public opinion statewide on the issue of medical cannabis legislation.
“Townhall meetings will be open to the public for discussion and feedback from residents, local leaders, health care providers, and advocacy groups,” said the notice.
The committee is directed to advise the governor on providing access to medical cannabis for Kentuckians who deal with a myriad of medical conditions.
“This is not about partisan politics,” Kerry Harvey, secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, said at the time. “This again, quite simply put, is about finding information that will assist our governor in making decisions that might lead to the alleviation of a lot of pain and suffering on the part of our fellow citizens.”
Commenting on Beshear’s note that 90% of Kentucky adults back medical cannabis legalization, state representative Al Gentry (D-Jefferson County) confirmed his surveys reflect that, reported WKYT.
“This question about medical cannabis is almost always on my survey and over the last five years has drawn between 85 and 91 percent approval,” said Gentry, who is one of the co-sponsors of these pieces of legislation.
A Republican-led bill passed the house in the latest session, but it was never presented in committee in the senate.
“It is my belief that the intent of the constitution was to put the power in the hands of the people and there’s no way you can exercise that if you don’t engage in the process,” Gentry said.
One veteran attending a recent town hall meeting said he hopes to be able to say one day that he hasn’t broken the law for the last 50 years.
The committee noted it will hear from both political parties on the matter, as there are some groups and lawmakers still opposing the reform. During the past legislative session, for example, Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) expressed his opposition, and Senate president Robert Stivers, (R-Manchester) noted that he would like to see more Kentucky-based research on this issue.