Beshear weighing executive action on medical cannabis
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear said in a tweet that if the general assembly does not pass legislation, he is weighing taking executive action to provide access to medical cannabis for those suffering from chronic pain or veterans suffering from PTSD.
His message comes ahead of a third town hall set to be held by the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee tomorrow in Hopkinsville.
Gov. Beshear said that 90 percent of Kentucky adults support the legalization of medical cannabis. At the latest town hall in Frankfort, state representative Al Gentry, D-Jefferson County, said his surveys reflect that.
“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.
Gentry says he’s been a primary co-sponsor on these pieces of legislation since arriving in Frankfort in 2017. A Republican-led bill passed the house in the most recent session. But it never was heard in committee in the senate, despite overwhelming public support for the change.
“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.
As Kentuckians engaged in the town hall to voice their opinion, multiple veterans were on hand - a group Beshear says he’d like to bring access to.
”I hope I’ll be able to say someday that I haven’t broken the law for the past 50 years,” said one veteran in attendance.
Whether it could be counteracting PTSD, chronic pain or another ailment…this veteran and many others are calling for change.
” A lot of people talk about supporting veterans. One thing that you can do to support our veterans is to allow the people to use this… and not have these men die as criminals.”
The committee says it wants to hear from all sides of the issue, and some groups and legislators are still opposed to the legalization of medical cannabis.
During the last legislative session...Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, acknowledged the widespread support but still came out against it.
Senate president Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, believes there could be benefits but says he wants to see more Kentucky-based research.
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