Medical Marijuana Comes To The Mid West


A medical marijuana law was recently filed in the Kentucky Senate. Senate Bill 129, The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, filed by Senator Perry Clark, will reschedule marijuana from Schedule I dangerous and having no medical value to Schedule II dangerous but having medical value so it can be prescribed by a doctor. The few articles that have appeared about it on the internet have expressed a tone of surprise that Kentucky would take this progressive step. It's puzzling they are surprised because Kentucky, like California, has a reputation for growing some of the best domestic marijuana in the nation, perhaps in the world. Indeed, Kentucky had a large hemp industry before prohibition killed it. I remember reading a newspaper article in the Seventies, about marijuana growing up out of the cracks in the sidewalk near the old hemp warehouses in Frankfort. Hemp/marijuana is no stranger to Kentucky.
Currently, all the states bordering Kentucky are working on their own medical marijuana laws and one is going to have full legalization on the ballot this November. Going around the clock starting at noon we have Ohio with 2 separate groups working on ballot initiatives. One group having had it's proposal certified by the Secretary of State. West Virginia has HB 3251 allowing for cultivation and pharmacies. Virginia has introduced both decriminalization and medical bills during the latest session of their Assembly. Tennessee has HB 254 and SB 251, The Safe Access To Medical Cannabis Act. Missouri will have HB 121 allowing for cultivation and pharmacies, and a ballot initiative on full legalization. Illinois has HB 30 which creates a 3 year pilot program of State registered patients and pharmacies, and finally Indiana has HB 1370 also allowing for registered patients and pharmacies.
One interesting note. Recently the US Congress approved legislation that will allow for The District of Columbia to have medical marijuana with distribution thru pharmacies. The problem for those trying to stop medical marijuana is that under the concept of equal treatment under the law, Congress may have inadvertently let the cat out of the bag by authorizing medical marijuana in all the States. A reading of the law in this respect would have the effect of ending DEA raids in States that have medical marijuana laws. Needless to say the marijuana law reform community is awaiting the results of the lawsuits that have been filed regarding this reading of the law with great anticipation.
On the subject of full legalization, Massachusetts, Washington State, and New Hampshire have bills in the works. Two states, Colorado and Washington, will have ballot initiatives, and signature drives are expected to be completed successfully, and in time for the November election in California, Michigan, Missouri, and Oregon.
Is Kentucky jumping the gun with it's medical marijuana bill? It appears not. Representative Keene, when asked about a medical marijuana law for Kentucky some time ago said that we usually do what the other states are doin". Well the other states are "doin' medical marijuana. Seems it's time for Kentucky's Assembly to git to "doin' too!

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