Medical marijuana rally held at U of L - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Medical marijuana rally held at U of L

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Supporters of the legalization of medical marijuana rallied at the University of Louisville's campus on Tuesday -- and they weren't afraid to let their voices be heard.

Several other states have passed laws to let sick people smoke it for their health problems.

Those in support of medical marijuana say their main focus on University of Louisville's campus was to educate.

A few held up pot leaf signs around a smoke-free campus as Sen. Perry Clark (D) rallied with others to share what they call "the truth about medical marijuana."

"Marijuana is a medicinal herb and it helps with so many different ailments," said Clark.

"I think the science is with us, the people are with us, and it is time to reintroduce this bill again."

A similar bill, SB 129, was introduced last year in February and did not get a hearing. Clark reintroduced the bill in August and said he is hoping similar legislation will not go up in smoke this year.  Though it is now known as SB 11, the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act has the same principle: to legalize medicinal pot.

Clark said he was invited to speak at the rally by Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, KY4MM.  He said the main goal was to get the word out to the younger generations.

"We want to get people to understand the policies, the principles, the signs behind this and get them to talk to their legislators, their senators, their representatives, and get them educated also about this policy," Clark said.

Clark said there are 18 states that have legalized weed for patient use, including the District of Columbia.  According to non-profit ProCon.org, those states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Supporters say they want people to listen to the facts about the drug, which is illegal in Kentucky.

"Whatever is helping people get better, then we need to legalize it," said Cortez Hampton, a supporter who performed at the event.

Some with severe issues say medical marijuana is their only solution.

"Personally I feel that this is a lot better alternative to the pharmaceutical options that we have available today. I am a multiple sclerosis patient, I used marijuana for many years and never saw any problems from it," said Jaime Montalvo.

Montalvo spoke at the event and shared his experiences, saying the harsh side effects of pharmaceutical drugs were harmful to patients.

"Everybody has watched TV and seen commercials for pharmaceuticals," he said. "They will have a 30-second commercial and 20 seconds of it are side effects to the drug."

Montalvo said the side effects of marijuana were much less severe.

"Personally, all I see is a side effect is a little bit slower thinking at times. Other than that, there's nothing that comes of it."

Montalvo also said he believed many in younger generations can easily access the drug, and decide not to support any medical legalization.  He said he wanted them to understand it is important for them to support the cause.

"We want them to know if they have to use it for a medical reason they won't have problems in the future on the record," said Montalvo.

Many supporters said they are not necessarily cheering on full-on legalizing of weed, but rather a medical script for those who need it.

Some non-supporters say they showed up to listen to the facts, but seemed to think they could be blowing smoke

"I don't necessarily think it should be legalized," said Joshua Arnwine.

"And I don't think that's the real purpose they're here. I think it's a stepping stone to legalize it entirely for recreational purposes and all of that."

Arnwine said he attended the rally to listen to what they had to say, but was not convinced legalizing marijuana for medical purposes would have any positive consequences.

"I don't think it is really going to bring any solutions to our country and I think it just adds another distraction from the gospel of Jesus Christ," Arnwine said.

"I don't think it's a huge benefit for society."

Though WDRB did speak to some others who attended the event who were not in support of legalizing marijuana, there were no actual protesters at the event.  For more information on Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, click here.  To see a draft of SB 11, click here. There is also a petition circulating online.

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