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Kentuckians say it's time for legalization of medical marijuana during public forum in Frankfort

Tuesday evening, the third meeting of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee was held in Frankfort, which brought out several passionate speakers.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Could medical marijuana become legal in Kentucky?

The public has weighed in on the topic in different corners of the state.

Tuesday evening, the third meeting of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee was held in Frankfort, which brought out several passionate speakers who demanded marijuana be legalized in the commonwealth.

"I have an uncle who has brain surgery and is in the hospital right now and I've done all that I can and he is suffering greatly,” one speaker said.

Governor Andy Beshear launched the committee in June to help advise him on providing access to medical marijuana for Kentuckians who suffer from chronic pain and other medical conditions.

The move comes as Beshear weighs an executive order to provide access to medical cannabis.

So far, the committee has held town halls in Eastern, Northern and now Central Kentucky.

Committee member and 502Hemp Owner Dee Dee Taylor said the response has been overwhelmingly in support of legalization.

"We've had so many people come out and give their stories and I get goose pimples and I about want to cry when I think about what everybody has gone through and why they need medical cannabis in this state,” Taylor said.

Army veteran David Royse was one of those with a heartfelt story.

He lost his son to a drug overdose in 2020; it’s something he believes may not have happened if his son had access to medical marijuana. But, beyond his personal loss, he said the war on drugs has affected everyone.

"For the last 40 years I've been calling for an end to this drug war because there's too many people in prison and there's too many people dying from the poison laced fentanyl on the streets of Kentucky and in America,” Royse said.

Medical marijuana is often utilized as an alternative to highly addictive opioids, many of which are prescribed to deal with patients’ pain.

Not all lawmakers believe medical marijuana should be legalized. The bill previously passed in the House and stalled in the Senate.

In a statement, Senate President Robert Stivers said:

“Well before the Governor’s creation of an advisory committee and statewide tour on the topic of medical marijuana, the legislature established the new research center at the University of Kentucky, committing $2 million, to scientifically explore the conditions for which medical marijuana may be useful.

The information that will be gathered by the research center is critical in the legislature's consideration of the issue and I hope the governor will show more appreciation for the work professionals at UK are doing to equip us all with scientific data.”

However, Kentuckians who spoke up in Frankfort said the time to legalize is now.

"It's an uphill battle but we need to keep fighting to get it done,” Royse said.

The committee's final meeting is Monday at Hopkinsville Community College from 5:30 to 7p.m..

► Contact reporter Bobbi McSwine at BMcSwine@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter  

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