Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Features

February 7, 2013

Lawmaker supporting medical marijuana

Feb. 7, 2013 — Erin Hopkins, an Eastern Kentucky University pre-med biology major from Corbin, understands marijuana won’t cure all ills.

But that’s no reason, she says, to ignore the compassionate medical uses of the illegal drug.

 

“We can’t cure everyone with cancer; we can’t cure anyone with AIDS,” Hopkins told about 100 people gathered in a room at the Capitol Annex Wednesday to voice support for passage of a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.

 

“But the least we can do is to allow them to relieve some of the side effects with a plant that grows naturally,” she said.

 

Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, is sponsoring a measure which would legalize the medical use of marijuana, allow it to be grown in limited amounts for that purpose and establishing maximum amounts persons could possess for medical reasons and provide for state regulation. There are 18 other states which allow some limited medical uses for marijuana.

 

He named the bill the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Act in memory of the man who openly campaigned for the legalization of marihuana and later hemp. Galbraith, who ran unsuccessfully for Commissioner of Agriculture, Attorney General and Governor several times, died last year.

 

Clark said the purpose of the bill is “compassionate medicine.” The drug or extracts of oil from the plant, Clark said, can effectively treat or ameliorate nausea from chemotherapy, treat pain, ease symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and some studies indicate cure some forms of cancer.

 

“There’s science behind this — it’s a powerful medicine,” Clark told a crowd of supporters.

 

And public attitudes are changing, Clark contends. Last summer when Clark announced he would again file such a bill — he’s offered it past sessions — he told reporters he’d “smoked a little weed.” He said Wednesday, his re-election after making that public admission was proof the public no longer fears marijuana and supports relaxation of laws governing its use.

 

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