Louisville lawmaker sponsoring bill to legalize marijuana for pe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville lawmaker sponsoring bill to legalize marijuana for people who are dying

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky State Sen. Morgan McGarvey (D-Louisville) plans to introduce a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for people who are dying.

On Wednesday, McGarvey told members of the Interim Health and Welfare Committee that the idea is no joke.

"It's 2017, and I think it's time that we have a conversation about medical marijuana without snickering," he said.

McGarvey wants doctors to be able to write prescriptions for marijuana for patients who are terminally ill.

"There are people who are suffering, and we are prescribing morphine for these people right now," McGarvey said. "But we're unwilling to give them marijuana to help them get through their chemotherapy treatments, to help them digest food or to help them enjoy the last months of their life."

McGarvey assured legislators his bill is not a back door to recreational marijuana.

"Get California and Oregon, sort of, out of your heads, right now," he said.

None of the members of the committee openly opposed the idea, agreeing it's time to at least have the conversation.

"It’s a big issue. It's not a big, scary issue," said Rep. Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill), who is also director of the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Policy.

But opposition may come from longtime supporters of medical marijuana like Eric Crawford. He suffers pain from a car accident 20 years ago and said McGarvey's bill would not help him.

"No, it doesn't go far enough," Crawford said. "We need to help sick people before they get to the end of life."

But McGarvey told reporters that, realistically, his bill must be limited in scope.

“This bill, in particularly in its limited and measured approach, for end of life and palliative care situations, I think stands a chance of getting support,” he said.

A similar bill died in the 2017 legislature. McGarvey said he’s optimistic but also knows he faces a tough road to actual passage.

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