Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis hope to make cannabis use more approachable

Republished from WEKU.


Cannabis is on the ballad again in Kentucky. House Bill 72 outlines the future of the proposed House bill 47, which would make it legal to possess and grow cannabis for personal use. Governor Beshear has put into place a pre pardon for users of medicinal cannabis until HB 47 takes full effect in 2025. This list has been the topic of much discussion among lawmakers and cannabis users alike.

“Medical cannabis users for years, got a bad rap. There’s a stigma around us.” Kristen Wilcox, is Co-Founder and President of Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis. The group’s efforts focus on getting access to medicinal cannabis for all who need it.

“Cannabis is medicine, it’s been studied and proven, we have over five thousand years of documented human use.” Kristen’s efforts to help change the public perception of cannabis users is a large part of what these Ky moms are doing.

“We like to bring a different perspective to the table for legislators. We are moms and dads and grandparents with children and grandchildren who have debilitating conditions and no good options for treatment,” Wilcox said.

Kristen is one of those parents, and her approach has been one of patience and diplomacy, “We don’t break laws, we change them.”

In March of 2023, Governor Beshear announced a pre pardon for medicinal users alongside the initial proposal of broader legalization in 2025. However, Wilcox says that the measure isn’t exactly what they were hoping for.

“We’re very grateful for the Governor doing his executive order, there’s still a lot of issues with that,” she said.

Accessibility in theory looks different in practice.

“They have financial trouble; they can’t drive out of state. Mobility issues that prevent them from going. There’s still the possibility that you can still be arrested under the executive order.” She explained.

Officially, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I Drug under federal law, the purpose of the executive order does not prohibit anyone from being arrested under the current state laws, so where does that leave the people who need access now?

“Going out of state is expensive, lots of our patients are on limited incomes, they’re elderly or disabled. [And] Because the federal level has not acted yet, these people are paying out of pocket for their own care,”said Wilcox.

Cost and access may be prohibitive, but Kristen insists the greatest obstacle lies with those who feel cannabis is their best option for treatment, but whose diagnosis isn’t currently on the list of accepted medical conditions.

This concern is one that was addressed by the governor as recently as last week, stating that additions be made to the list, but Wilcox that in her experience, this may not be the best course of action.

“Senate Bill 47 that was passed, has a short list of qualifying conditions, we need those additions to be removed. Even if they are extended or far more expansive than what was passed, there is still going to be somebody left out who needs this. My daughter is a great example of this, she has a very rare condition called Dravet Syndrome. There is not a blanket term that they can put as a qualifying condition that they can put {on paper} that will ensure and others like her are going to get access to this. I would suggest that we remove all qualifying conditions and let doctors decide. Our legislators are not healthcare experts, and I don’t think they have any business deciding who should get access to this and who shouldn’t,” said Wilcox.

Medical cannabis users, or those who would be, will continue to navigate the legal labyrinth surrounding the purchase and possession of cannabis until 2025. Kentucky Mom for Medical Cannabis said they will continue to focus on making cannabis truly accessible to those in need by putting the people before the politics.

“ I think would make a huge difference for the most people and that’s what we’re going to continue pushing for, “ said Wilcox.

More details surrounding the bill are slated to be released later this month.

Hear more on this story coming up during Eastern Standard on WEKU.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.