Kentucky veterans and voters have made it incredibly clear that they support medical marijuana – in fact, according to Governor Andy Beshear, over 90% of adult voters are in favor of legalization. State Representative Al Gentry (D) also confirmed this number. It’s clear that Kentuckians are ready and willing to embrace legal cannabis, so why is the government resisting the will of the people?
The Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee
Formed in June 2022, the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee (TKMCAC) is an example of Beshear’s commitment to bringing medical marijuana to the state. Beshear named 17 individuals to the group through an executive order, including lawyers, university professors, proponents of medical marijuana, and professionals in the medical industry.
According to Beshear’s office, the committee wants to hear from people in Kentucky and share their thoughts on medicinal marijuana with the governor and other decision-makers.
Beshear stated in his executive order that he thinks medical marijuana has the potential to enhance the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses and reduce addiction to other medicines like opioids.
The number of overdose deaths in Kentucky has dramatically increased recently; 2,250 deaths were reported in 2021, up from 1,316 in 2019, according to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. Medical marijuana could be a solution to this public health crisis, and Beshear’s office is pushing for legalization.
The Tough Road To Medical Marijuana
A bill sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, in 2020 laid out some of the tightest regulations for the legalization of medical cannabis in the nation. Although it won 65 votes in the House, it was unable to move forward in the Senate because of Republican opposition and a truncated session brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another attempt at tight legalization was made earlier this year, and the House approved it with a vote of 59 to 34. But it also came to a standstill in the Senate.
Medical marijuana has garnered large amounts of support across the commonwealth from Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Unfortunately, it’s just not garnering enough traction in the Senate.
Despite the fact that he is aware of his voters’ support for medicinal marijuana legalization, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R) says he won’t vote in support of it out of concern that it will pave the way for recreational legal marijuana. The senator, who owns a bourbon distillery, says, “if they don’t like it, they can take it out on me in the next election.”
If you’re a Kentuckian who thinks Sen. Matt Thayer should be voted out of office because he’s not serving the public interest, spread the word and get your friends and family to vote for someone else.
It’s no secret that there are many Kentuckians who disagree with Thayer on this issue, but what makes him undemocratic is that he’s actively trying to silence their voices. Thayer is just one brazen example of Kentucky’s cannabis opposition – numerous others exist in the Senate, ensuring that 90% of residents have their voices suppressed in government.
The people of Kentucky have spoken: they want medical cannabis, and they want it now.
The Kentucky General Assembly has been dragging its feet on this issue for years, but now that there is a governor who is willing to sign medical marijuana legislation into law, it’s time for KY senators to stop playing games and do their jobs.
Kentucky residents want the same access to medical marijuana that 38 other states have already provided their citizens. The state’s senators have been ignoring the will of their constituents and disrespecting the people they represent. Governor Beshear is on-board with legalizing medical cannabis, and a broad majority of Kentuckians support allowing its use for medicinal purposes. The best and the most democratic decision would be for the state legislature to pass an effective medical marijuana bill this session.
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