Medical marijuana bill passes first hurdle in Frankfort - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Medical marijuana bill passes first hurdle in Frankfort

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Michael Krawitz, an Air Force veteran, says marijuana helps alleviate his pain. Michael Krawitz, an Air Force veteran, says marijuana helps alleviate his pain.
Marijuana, packaged for medical use. Marijuana, packaged for medical use.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the first time ever, a legislative committee has passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana, but the bill's future remains hazy.

Thursday's hearing was at times very emotional as medical marijuana supporters pleaded for the bill's passage and skeptics urged caution. 

"These patients are suffering, needlessly, when there is a drug out there that is available to alleviate their suffering," said Dr. Susan Sisley with the University of Arizona. 

As they have been doing for years, medical marijuana supporters told lawmakers the stories of suffering eased by the drug. 

"Listen to me," said Michael Krawitz. "I'm a veteran. I'm telling you it helps me, and it helps me alleviate suffering. 

But some Republicans on the committee warned of unintended consequences of legalizing medical marijuana when there's so little research to back up the health claims. 

But Krawitz, a veteran who served in the Air Force, fired back about being forced to leave the country to get help legally.

"I go to Austria and my needs are met," Krawitz said. "I'm a disabled United States Air Force veteran. Why do I have to leave this country to have my medical needs met?"

The bill narrowly passed, but only after two lawmakers changed their votes. 

Jaime Montalvo with Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, was pleased with the outcome.

"It's a monumental first step," said Montalvo. "It's definitely in the right direction."

Fran Pruitt, a cancer patient, agrees.

"And I truly believe with all my heart that it can save lives and help people. I know kit help people with the nausea, it's related to cancer."

But even supporters acknowledge if the bill is scheduled for a vote in the full house its chances of passage are virtually zero this year.

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