As some of you know, I was born and raised in Kentucky. I’ve never lived in another state. And it’s not that there is anything particularly special about my part of Kentucky. Cincinnati is close and the weather sucks; I’m still here because I’ve never had a need or reason to move.
Unfortunately for many in the state, Kentucky is among the dwindling list of places without medical marijuana protections for patients. It’s a subject I’ve written about and talked about several times. A mostly rural state that Trump won by 30 points in 2016, Kentucky is – unsurprisingly – not welcoming cannabis with open arms.
At least that is the case with Kentucky lawmakers. Hemp is very welcome and a recent poll showed some 90% of residents in the state support medical cannabis. But many KY lawmakers will tell you they want to take their time to get it “right”.
The problem with this is that it’s not the job of lawmakers to get your medication right any more than it is their job to put out a fire at your house. The job of medicating is done by YOU in conjunction with whatever medical professionals you choose to consult. You face the consequences of your decision and you are not infringing on the rights of anyone else.
“There are some real benefits to it, but we need to know what it benefits – what things are there without creating bigger health hazards,” Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said. “And that’s the same way with any drug. It’s a balancing test of do the goods outweigh the bads.”
These are all true things, yet none of them are the business of Kentucky representatives. The balancing test is up to the person taking the medication to conduct, not some stranger in Frankfort. When you go down the list of dangerous drugs that have gotten the stamp of approval from government entities, one has to wonder how lawmakers are going to ultimately decide marijuana is safe enough for people to use legally.
According to the Kentucky Speaker of the House, medical cannabis legislation that recently passed overwhelmingly out of committee could come to the floor for a full vote early this week. And while its chances may be pretty good there, the Senate is iffy at best.
All of this time and effort and discussion for legislation that is quite restrictive when compared to medical marijuana laws elsewhere in the U.S. And if it’s not passed this year, activists will do it all again next year, descending on the state capital to make the case.
Begging for a right that should have never been taken away in the first place is not something anyone should have to do, yet it’s exactly how medical cannabis is legalized.