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Medical Marijuana Proposed in Kentucky

Lawmakers file bills that would allow Kentuckians to get medical marijuana.
A medical marijuana bill has been introduced in the Kentucky legislature.. That's a first in the commonwealth.

To some, it's helpful.

"These laws are generally working well," says Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project.

To others, it's harmful.

"I think we ought to be referring to it as 'therapeutic marijuana,'" says Daviess Co. Sheriff Keith Cain.

A new push to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky will have lawmakers getting an earful.

"it's a misnomer, it's a myth," says Cain.

House and Senate bills were introduced in the General Assembly to put Kentucky in line with Illinois and 19 others currently allowing it. But Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain questions how helpful it will be to patients and the commonwealth.

"Those drugs came to be as a result of stringent prerequisites that were followed by the FDA before they became medicine," he says. "This is the only drug I'm familiar with that we're talking about doing so by popular vote."

Cain says in states, like Colorado, driving has gotten more dangerous since 2006, when the state allowed medical marijuana. That's even with the number of accidents decreasing nationwide.

"But in that same time frame, vehicle fatalities involving marijuana, much of it, medical marijuana, have gone up 114%," he says.

But officials at the Marijuana Policy Project say some opponents fears, like increased usage among teens, are unfounded.

"The data is very clear and reassuring on that score," says Simon. "That has not happened in the 15 states were there is data available."

And legalizing marijuana for the ill will be more helpful than harmful.

"What we often hear from medical marijuana patients who have long history of being prescribed hard drugs, they describe marijuana as a gateway back, that's something that can help them break their need for some of the prescriptions they feel they're addicted to," he adds.

As for the state of those bills, the Senate bill is still in committee while the House bill was just introduced early last week.
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