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Paducah Family Hopes For Medicinal Marijuana Law Passage

Lance Dennee

A Paducah family is hoping that a bill legalizing medicinal marijuana use will become law and keep them from leaving the state. House Bill 350, sponsored by Representative Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville) would:

… establish a comprehensive system for medical cannabis, including provisions for medical verification of need, persons allowed to cultivate, use, and possess the drug, organizations allowed to assist in providing the drug, regulation by the state Department for Public Health, interaction with state and local governments, including law enforcement, with persons and entities coming within the purview of the Act, and the establishment of required reporting and review procedures; amend KRS 218A.040 to conform;

Sara and Johnie Collier spent a week in Frankfort, Ky lobbying on behalf of their two-year-old daughter Lola, who suffers from severe toddler IBS and a high acidic system. Medical marijuana oils or creams can alleviate her pain.

They say if the legislature will act then they won’t have to move to another state where medicinal marijuana has been legalized.

 “We have family in Colorado, we have friends in California, I actually have family in California, Washington and Oregon and we’ve been looking everywhere,” Johnie said. I’ve applied for jobs and everything. Two days ago I got a job offer… Now that we are making a little progress, I guess we’ll stick around for a little while. If we moved, it would not be Illinois.”

Illinois is the latest state to legalize medical usage of marijuana. And, while that state’s regulations aren’t in place yet it’s certain Kentuckians won’t be able to cross the border to get their prescription filled and return with their marijuana, legally.  

McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden says law enforcement has to enforce state law even though someone has a prescription.

 “As a citizen I believe that there are some people that do get relief from the used of medical marijuana,” said Hayden. I’ve heard enough about it and I’ve studied it enough that I personally believe that there is a use for that in certain situations.”

 “Some states have reciprocity. We’re not going to have any kind of reciprocity like that,” Commonwealth defense attorney Jamey Mills said.

This year, Kentucky and 12 other states have introduced legislation to legalize medicinal marijuana. Tennessee and Missouri are among those.

There are three bills moving in the Kentucky legislature related to medicinal marijuana, but one is quite different. The house bill and Senate Bill 43 are nearly identical, and are supported by the Colliers. The Colliers say the third bill, SB-124, filed by Senator Julie Denton (R-Louisville) doesn’t go far enough to help their daughter. The bill seeks to:

…exempt from the definition of "marijuana" drugs used in FDA-approved studies or compassionate use programs and the substance cannabidiol when recommended by a physician practicing at a state research hospital.

SB-124 passed a Senate committee last week.

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