Lawsuit challenges Kentucky's medical marijuana ban

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky's medical marijuana ban

Published on 6/18/17

Kentucky is one of the few states in the U.S. pushing to continue a heavy ban on medical marijuana, despite studies showing it can be a viable resource in fighting opioid and prescription pain killer addiction. Several Kentucky patients started a lawsuit against the state last week after lawmakers have repeatedly refused to lift the ban on medical marijuana. Cultivating or possessing any amount of marijuana in Kentucky can result in jail time, but the same would be perfectly legal in over half of the country. One plaintiff was prescribed medical marijuana while living in legal states, Colorado and Washington, but has now become the center of controversy as she moved back to Kentucky to take care of her sick mother. Does she and many other patients with valid prescriptions deserve to be in jail? Obviously not. But somehow patients allover the state must still defend their right to safe non-addicting medication that works.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

"She comes back to her home state and she's treated as a criminal for this same conduct," said plaintiffs' attorney Daniel Canon. "That's absurd, it's irrational and it's unconstitutional."

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: "I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I'm able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard."

"Cannabis helps sick people," Curtis said. "It is safe, it is not addictive and it works."

Kentucky had the nation's third-highest death rate from opioid overdoses in 2015, it said. Hospital admissions from opioid abuse have dropped in states allowing medicinal cannabis, it said.

"Medical cannabis keeps people off of opioids," Canon said.

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