Sen. Julie Denton, in her last session as a member of the General Assembly, said Wednesday she plans to file a bill allowing the medicinal use of low-concentration cannabis oil.
The debate at the Capitol on medicinal marijuana has ramped up in recent years, but Denton, R-Louisville, said the oils dealt with in her legislation lack the psychoactive effects of marijuana. The medicinal oils would only be available at University of Kentucky and University of Louisville hospitals under the bill, Denton said.
“If you had a child who’s having hundreds of seizures a day and you heard about this oil that’s available, for instance, in Colorado, wouldn’t you do whatever it took to see if that was going to help your child?” Denton asked, rhetorically. “Wouldn’t you be willing to take whatever risks it would take for you personally to make sure your child had access to it?”
The Senate has failed to take up medicinal marijuana legislation in recent years, notably bills sponsored by Democratic Sen. Perry Clark of Louisville. Late last year, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, voiced support for medical marijuana because of its benefits for those with autism.
Denton’s legislation does not go quite that far. Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, said he plans to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill, which would amend last year’s hemp bill to raise the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, from .03 percent to .06 percent.
Carroll said the medicinal cannabis oil could save lives and protect children suffering from maladies such as epilepsy.
“This stuff will not give you any comfort that, obviously, the strong stuff will give you,” he said. “… I don’t go as far as my seatmate (Clark) would like me to go, but I am willing to go this far because it is something that the people want and will endorse once they understand what we’re doing.”