Legal cannabis must be option for pain sufferers, panelists say

He didn’t like the black market, so he cultivated at his home. He was arrested and received five years of probation.

HENDERSON – Advocates for medicinal marijuana said Tuesday the time is now to push for statewide legalization.

They said research is clear that cannabis helps those suffering from a variety of painful conditions, yet, the word marijuana is still taboo for many in society.

Jaime Montalvo deals daily with multiple sclerosis. After being diagnosed, the Louisville man discovered that cannabis improved his quality of life far more than anything else he’d tried.

He didn’t like the black market, so he cultivated at his home. He was arrested and received five years of probation.

“I lost custody of my son for six months, not for cultivation, but for testing positive,” Montalvo said. “So that’s what’s motivated me for the last six years or so, to change the laws and give people safe access to cannabis.”

Montalvo is a cannabis educator and director of KY4MM (Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana). He and others who took part in a panel discussion at Henderson Community College were preaching to the choir; most of the 50 or so in attendance seemed sympathetic to legalization.

The challenge, speakers said, is convincing state legislators.

Lawmakers in Kentucky and Indiana have legalized hemp oil, also known as CBD oil. But speakers said the positive impact of that is very small compared to what legal medicinal marijuana could do.

“You’re just really scratching the surface” with CBD oil, said Ashly Taylor, a Lexington native who is now a cannabis industry entrepreneur living in Colorado. “We’re looking to get legalization so we can help more people.”

Taylor, who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, explained at Tuesday’s forum what a legalized marijuana industry would look like.

She said in a regulated market, all cannabis grown comes from state-licensed, taxpaying cultivation facilities, monitored from seed to sale.

All plants are tagged and entered into a state regulated tracking system.

They are processed at a state-licensed product manufacturing facility, with OSHA guidelines enforced and a staffed human resources department.

The product would pass testing from a state-licensed facility before being distributed for legal consumption.

“All of the things you see with other big industry, you’re going to see here,” Taylor said.

Legal medicinal marijuana “is not that new of a thing,” Taylor noted. It’s been legalized or decriminalized in a long list of countries, from Canada to Australia and many European countries.

It is legal in 30 states, and Taylor cited a shift in public opinion on the subject: 64 percent favorability according to one Gallup poll. She said those who support legalization show varied political bent.

Sympathy for legalization has reached local elected officials in Henderson. The City Commission recently passed a resolution stating support for medicinal marijuana.

Henderson City Commissioner Brad Staton said he and his colleagues were moved by testimony from many city residents, including a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who spoke about suicidal thoughts and depression.

“I didn’t think there was any way we would even take a vote much less pass it,” Staton said. “But we said we have people in the state of Kentucky who are suffering, and we can do something about it.” The vote was 5-0.

Forum speakers said cannabis helps with appetite and sleep, in addition to pain relief. They said the addiction potency is comparable to sugar.

A pharmacist in the audience asked the panelists about studies showing negative effects of long-time marijuana usage, and concerns about children’s usage.

Panelists said marijuana already is pervasive in the culture. Montalvo cited a study showing that in Kentucky, about 40 percent of teens have used marijuana.

“We need to decrease that,” he said. “In my opinion the way to decrease it is regulate the product and keep it out of the hands of children. Right now everybody is prohibited, but it’s still everywhere.”

Taylor said Kentucky authorities in 2016 seized and destroyed more than 560,000 plants, placing the state in the nation’s top five.

Kentucky that year spent $56.8 million for marijuana eradication.

“If we can take the money we save and do something better with it, it seems like a win-win to me,” Taylor said.

Grace Henderson would agree. The Henderson resident, an organizer of Tuesday’s forum, suffers from a list of chronic conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Chron’s disease.

She’s on a list of medications which she said interact and cause other health problems.

Medical cannabis, she said, needs to be a option for people like her who, at times, struggle to simply get out of bed.

“We need a safe, viable alternative that does not kill people,” Henderson said. “And this is it.”

CONTINUE READING…

More: City of Henderson backs medical cannabis resolution

More: Henderson woman tells how cannabis brings relief

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2 Replies to “Legal cannabis must be option for pain sufferers, panelists say”

  1. I am 66 yrs old, suffer from degenerative disc disease and am recovering from spinal fusion surgery I had this past March. I’ve never been able to tolerate marijuana because of the high thc psychoactive effects, but liked the physical effect of pain relief. Also I don’t like smoking it! If it was legal, it could be regulated and made into a medicinal oil with minimum but effective amounts of thc. The already legal CBD oil, made from industrial hemp, does nothing for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I very much agree that there is a place for pharmaceutical cannabis prescribed by a physician. In fact, I could really use some myself. However, before we hand over this plant to pharma it needs to be returned to its rightful owners – the people first…Meaning that it is a plant which was placed on Earth by Our Creator and is an unalienable right and is protected by Our Constitution. It is actually considered a FOOD, first! This plant was effectively STOLEN and eradicated by the Federal Government in the U.S. Cannabis used to grow wild in most places in some form. Then, during WWII the Federal Government came back and said ‘please grow Hemp for us for the war effort’….After WWII they demonized it once again. Too many people have prosecuted for “marijuana” offenses, lost children, Physicians and more as a result. This never should have happened. In fact, prior to 1937 Cannabis is in the U.S. pharmacopeia and WAS in fact PRESCRIBED by Physicians as well as Veterinarians! The Government in coordination with the United Nations (1970) successfully STOLE a God given gift from us. Give it back! The day I can freely grow a Cannabis plant in my yard to use for food, medicine, or to make “hempcrete” from, is the day that the Pharmas can start producing THEIR drugs legally as well. Please view the links below for more information.

      http://web.archive.org/web/20041208084352/kentucky.usmjparty.com/policy_elkhorn.htm

      http://antiquecannabisbook.com/ THIS SITE DOCUMENTS FORMER CANNABIS RX….

      http://harmreduction.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/HowInternationalLawAffectsUSDrugPolicy.pdf

      Liked by 1 person

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