Kentucky Governor Teaches Detectives Regarding Legal Marijuana Order As Supporters Keep The Pressure on Legislators To Approve a Comprehensive Bill!
As proponents in Kentucky increase their efforts to legalize medical marijuana in the 2018 session, the governor is educating law enforcement on the scope of an executive order he signed last month protecting certain patients in possession of cannabis obtained in other states. It has been reported that “palm cards” with information regarding what will be authorized under Governor Andy Beshear’s (D) executive order, which goes into force on Sunday, January 1, are being distributed to officers.
He reassured reporters on Thursday that the cards are “extremely straightforward” for law enforcement to understand. Activists from organizations like Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis (KMMC) and Kentucky NORML are getting their message across to politicians before the new session begins next week by posting hundreds of images of patients on the walls of a tunnel near the State Capitol building.
Kristin Wilcox, KMMC’s co-founder, told WHAS 11, “They get to understand that they’re not alone.” We battle for the memory of the many advocates who gave their lives in this room. Beshear was an early signer of a promise published on Wednesday asking elected officials in the Bluegrass State to commit to working to legalize medical cannabis.
The governor, who included his cannabis executive order in a list of achievements for the year, said, “Many Kentuckians with chronic pain are suffering and searching for relief.” “Today I met with Moms for Cannabis, a group of supporters who believe that medical cannabis can provide health answers without compromising the quality of life.”
And during Thursday’s press conference, Beshear said, “the legislature should have done this a long time ago” and “it is time” for lawmakers to legalize medicinal Marijuana. He claimed that “since we don’t have one of these systems,” the state was losing money because residents had to go to neighboring states to obtain medical treatment.
As much as I tried to accomplish with that executive order, I knew I had to set boundaries. And yesterday I spoke with mothers whose children are truly hurting or whose parents are suffering, and they all agreed that this is a far superior solution to filling “16, 17 prescriptions—most of them opiates.” He said that “if nothing else,” our nation’s warriors with PTSD deserved this for their service. I’d like for our folks to have easy access to cannabis.
Many Kentuckians with chronic pain are suffering and searching for relief. Today I visited with Moms for Cannabis, advocates who are looking for health solutions that don't sacrifice quality of life – something medical cannabis can deliver. pic.twitter.com/RG9sZUWA63
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) December 28, 2022
Also, “I don’t want them to have to drive to Illinois,” he said. However, legislation is required for that to happen. I’ll be the first to concede that the executive order has flaws; the legislative really ought to have taken care of this long ago. To further strengthen our hand in these negotiations with other states, we can simply issue another executive order.
Separately, Andy Beshear has requested that the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts assess how many Kentuckians have minor marijuana charges on their records and what effect pardons might have. Despite his stated commitment to continuing to advocate for the legalization of medical cannabis in the state, he acknowledges the need of offering relief to people who have been criminalized due to marijuana’s broader ban.
In addition, the governor’s advisory council on medicinal Marijuana, which he established in June and whose report was presented in September, made recommendations that the governor said he would consider as he deliberates on whether to take executive action to further reform. According to the report, the committee found that while the governor may be able to adopt some measures unilaterally, most of its suggestions to providing patients with medicinal cannabis access “would require legislative action,” which is problematic given the hostility of some prominent MPs.
More than 1,500 proposals pertaining to cannabis, psychedelics, and drug policy have been introduced in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress thus far in 2018. Members of our Patreon who pledge at least $25 per month will get access to our live, updated maps, charts, and hearing schedule.
This past April, the governor gave a sneak peek at his plans to move the medical marijuana issue forward through executive action, all the while blasting the Senate for ignoring voters’ wishes and “obstructing” reform by not even giving a hearing to a bill passed by the House of Representatives this year.
Despite saying he would rather have lawmakers approve complete legislation on the matter, Beshear has recently made many comments about the potential of taking executive action on cannabis policy. As a medical marijuana legalization bill that had cleared the House seemed destined to die with the conclusion of the parliamentary session, he has become more receptive to the idea of executive action.
Damon Thayer, the Republican leader of the Senate, is strongly opposed to the proposed expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program, arguing that doing so will pave the way for the drug’s eventual legalization. In March, he indicated that the medicinal marijuana bill that had passed the House was “done for the year” and would not be considered again this session.
In January, Thayer, who owns a whiskey distillery, remarked on a televised panel, “I know my constituents are behind it.” But this is a republic; the people send us to Frankfort to make decisions for them; if they don’t like what we do, they can vote me out of office. Meanwhile, in January, Democratic leaders in both chambers announced that passing legislation to legalize medical marijuana will be a high priority for the upcoming session.
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Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey (D) and two other senators followed suit in February by filing their own legalization bills. The governor has spoken in favor of greater legalization, stating late last year that “it’s time we joined so many other states in doing the right thing.” He continued by saying that Kentucky farmers would be in an advantageous position to cultivate and sell cannabis to other states.