Our view: Ky. should consider medical marijuana

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced Wednesday plans to bring together a group of Kentuckians to develop a plan to strategically legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Grimes said she will convene a task force to focus on a legislative proposal to legalize medical marijuana. The group, she said, will study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes.

It’s time for Kentucky to consider the benefits and risks of legalizing marijuana for medical use and finally bring the legislation before the General Assembly for a vote.

Email newsletter signup

Already, 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation.

As Grimes said in a press release Wednesday, “Too many Kentuckians are suffering from debilitating physical and mental illnesses. Most have lived with the effects of these illnesses for years. We must do more to relieve their pain and suffering, and there is significant evidence that cannabis is beneficial for these individuals, especially veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. 2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting.”

While there are certainly considerable risks and many questions about legalizing medical marijuana, studies have shown the drug can drastically improve the side effects of many illnesses and diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C and post-traumatic stress disorder.

This is not a decision to be taken lightly, but we are glad to see Grimes taking steps to at least get a proposal in front of our legislatures.

Thankfully, this task force will be made up of just the right professionals, experts and stakeholders in this decisions. The group will include everyone from doctors, nurses and medical administrators to law enforcement officials, military veterans, medical marijuana advocates and state agencies with regulatory oversight.

These individuals will offer the appropriate insight to how the people of Kentucky can best implement legislation that can improve the quality of life for many of our citizens struggling with physical and mental health issues. They will be able to weigh the risks that come with implementing marijuana legally, especially during a time when illegal drug use is a statewide epidemic.

This group is specially equipped to formulate the necessary provisions and restrictions to make sure the Commonwealth remains safe, but our citizens can get some much-needed relief where applicable.

Whether legalizing medical marijuana will be what is best for Kentuckians stands to be decided by this qualified group of people and then our elected officials.

We look forward to learning more about the proposal drafted by this task force. We also urge you to do your research, consider the benefits and risks and let your state-level elected officials know where you stand on the issue.

More importantly, let them know that you would finally like to see the issue considered by state legislators.