Grimes, Sims offer high profile support for medical marijuana

LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes took the lead in calling for the legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky on Thursday.

Grimes, Rep. John Sims, and the appointed medical marijuana task force explained the legislative proposal, House Bill 166, based on their findings. The task force included doctors, nurses, health administrators and veterans.

In a statement released by the Secretary of State, Grimes said:

"Now, with 29 states and the District of Columbia offering relief in the form of medical marijuana to their citizens, we must waste no more time. We've heard real, heart-wrenching stories from all over the Commonwealth about how access to cannabis can provide long-lasting and life-changing relief. The serious discussions this task force had have resulted in a solid piece of legislation that can change lives."

District 70 State Rep John Sims of Flemingsburg will be driving the bill. It came with the endorsement of the medical marijuana task force.

Sims filed HB 166 on Wednesday, which would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Under the proposal, Kentucky patients with qualifying medical conditions would be allowed to get prescriptions for marijuana.

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Medical marijuana is currently legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine reports that opioid overdose deaths have fallen by 25% in states that have legalized medical marijuana, the Secretary of State's Office said.

Significant evidence and research indicates that a long list of conditions might benefit with treatment plans that include medical marijuana, the statement said. Among them are cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Crohn's disease and hepatitis C.

People who spoke in Frankfort on Thursday in support of the bill were actual patients or family members with first-hand experience of medical cannabis.

"Now is the time... this is the year, let's send a message to the legislators in the general assembly, vote for medical marijuana or we're going to vote you out of here," Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said.

The bill would also allow patients to grow their own cannabis in limited amounts.

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