The poll from Jan. 30 through Feb. 4 found that 52 percent of Kentucky adults support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. Thirty-seven percent were opposed and 12 percent were not sure. Most supporters were under the age of 50, white and registered Democratic. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
SurveyUSA polled 1,082 registered voters with home phones and cell phones for The Courier-Journal, the Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington’s WKYT-TV and Louisville’s WHAS-TV.
Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, has filed a bill to allow patients in Kentucky to qualify to use medical marijuana through the health department. Similar versions of this bill have not passed the Senate in recent years. On Monday Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a nurse, introduced a similar bill in the House, the first in that chamber. Washington, D.C., and 20 states have passed medical-marijuana laws.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he’s open to discussing the idea, and Rep. Tom Burch, who chairs the House Health and Welfare Committee, said he strongly supports it, Laura Ungar reports for The Courier-Journal. But Senate President Robert Stivers said he wants to see studies that show medical marijuana has a definite medical value. He said he’s only heard of anecdotal evidence so far, Greg Hall reports for the Louisville newspaper.
Neither bill is expected to pass, but another bill has been introduced that would allow the use of cannabidiol, the marijuana-based oil that some parents credit with reducing seizures in their children. It was introduced by by Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. The oil could legally be given only on the recommendation of a doctor associated with a research hospital or if the patient is in a clinical trial sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Janet Patton reports for the Herald-Leader.
Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, said at a House Health and Welfare committee meeting that he feared medical-marijuana legislation was a “Trojan horse to legalize recreational use of marijuana” in a state already bedeviled by drug addiction, but he was open to Denton’s bill. “That oil has been the subject of clinical trials, and if that can benefit, I think it could have a chance of passing,” he told Patton.
People who support medical marijuana gathered in Frankfort last week to voice their opinion. Supporters included two parents who shared their story of how the oil made from marijuana had helped their children cope with seizures and a man who said marijuana helped with the pain and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, Patton reports.
Those who support medical marijuana say that it is useful for symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, pain and other conditions. Opponents note that it lacks FDA approval, and say effective legal drugs are available that do not injure the lungs, immune system or brain, or risk leading to harder drug use, ProCon.org reports.