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'It is absolutely medicine for me': Mothers call on Kentucky lawmakers to pass medical marijuana for their children

Only 13 states remain without any form of legalized marijuana, and Kentucky and Indiana are two of them.

RINEYVILLE, Ky. — A green wave has been rolling through the country.

In fact, several states for Tuesday’s midterm elections had public referendums on marijuana on their ballots.

Only 13 states remain without any form of legalized marijuana, and Kentucky and Indiana are two of them.

That, despite polls showing the vast majority of Kentuckians are in favor of medical marijuana.

“Our committee found that 98.5% of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical cannabis,” Kristin Wilcox said.

Wilcox is a member of Gov. Andy Beshear’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee, a co-founder of Kentucky Moms For Medical Cannabis, and a mom of a child with a very rare condition, Dravet Syndrome.

Her daughter, Shelby, suffers from severe seizures.

“She used to have thousands a day,” Wilcox said. “She’s had seizures as long as 14 hours.”

Shelby was part of a clinical trial and now continues to take FDA-approved Epidiolex twice a day, which contains cannabis oil.

The medicine hasn’t stopped her seizures completely, but “the amount of time they last is less,” Wilcox said.

The financial side effect of Epidiolex, Wilcox complains, costs $45,520 a year, which she says is paid for through Medicaid.

She says other states have legal medicinal marijuana products which could also help her daughter greatly and which should be available in Kentucky.

Credit: John Charlton/WHAS-TV
Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis pushes for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state. Nov. 10, 2022

“My spotlight is focused on Senate leadership,” Wilcox said.

Despite medical marijuana bills have already passed the House in the General Assembly, they have stalled in the Senate under Senate President Robert Stivers and Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer.

“I think medical marijuana is a slippery slope for recreational marijuana, which I’m not for,” Thayer said on KET Jan. 4.

Stivers said "more study is needed" on KET April 18.

“They are just not listening to us,” Julie Cantwell said. “I don’t think they care about people being sick.”

Cantwell is the other co-founder of Kentucky Moms For Medical Cannabis.

Every two months, she goes out of state to buy medical marijuana where it’s legal for her 22-year-old son Preston.

Credit: John Charlton/WHAS-TV
Preston Cantwell is seen playing guitar as his mom watches. Cantwell suffers from drug-resistant epilepsy, and the only thing he says that has helped is medical marijuana. Nov. 10, 2022

“Parents are having to break the law to get them (children) help,” Cantwell argued. “We have to worry about leaving one state and bringing it back to another state.”

Her son has drug-resistant epilepsy, but after taking medical marijuana, “October 12, 2019 was the last time I had a seizure,” Preston said.

He’s enjoyed the benefits.

“It is absolutely medicine for me,” he said.

Preston has this message to politically opposed lawmakers.

“Please hurry up and get out of the way, so a lot of people can be healthy and be happy,” he said.

Stivers wasn't immediately available for comment but agreed to an interview at a later date.

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