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Louisville, Ky. (WDRB) -- With the upcoming legislative session right around the corner, a Kentucky state senator is once again pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana. Senator Perry Clark (D-Louisville) invited supporters to his home to revive the movement Thursday afternoon.
Senator Clark's medical marijuana bill failed to receive a hearing last year, but this year, he says, it will go before the legislature. Today, he played host to dozens of people who say they'll stand behind him in his renewed fight.
"I will not stop advocating for this bill," said Erin Grossman. She suffers from Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, a disorder that affects the nervous system. She is a proponent of legalizing medical marijuana, a drug she said would ease her pain. "We're advocating for safe access, safe medicine for Kentuckians."
Medicinal marijuana supporters were rallying in anticipation of an August 21 Health and Welfare committee meeting in Frankfort. The group Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana used the party to announce that Irvin Rosenfeld, one of few recipients of federal medical marijuana, will speak at the hearing.
People like Jaime Montalvo are continuous supporters of medical marijuana. Montalvo has Multiple Sclerosis and said he doesn't want to be profiled as a criminal. "I'm definitely not a criminal, I'm somebody that goes through a lot of pain every day and chooses not to use pharmaceutical medications to treat my pain."
State Senator Perry Clark said he has been fighting to legalize medical cannabis after hearing from many of his elderly constituents who use the drug for pain relief. "I am about getting access to natural medicine and compassionate medicine to as my Kentuckians as I can get that to," said Clark.
Clark himself suffers back pain, and believes cannabis to be the best medicine. "The doctor has recommended that I take medicinal marijuana and so has a therapeutic professional."
But not everyone agrees with the crowd that gathered at Clark's Louisville home Sunday. Andrew Walker with the Family Foundation told WDRB in an interview last July that if legalized, he fears medical marijuana would be abused, and used for the wrong purposes. "Things like stress and jet lag become qualifying ailment for medical marijuana and the laws become blatantly abused."
But this group will continue to push forward. "What is important is you talk to your senator, your representative, you have to break the taboo," said Clark.
Clark says the official introduction of the bill will happen in January 2014.