Kentucky Residents Sue State Over Medical Marijuana Ban - News | MERRY JANE
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Kentucky Residents Sue State Over Medical Marijuana Ban

The plaintiffs argue that their right to medical marijuana is protected by the Kentucky Constitution.

by Chris Moore

Three Kentucky residents have filed a lawsuit against state officials to challenge the state's prohibition of cannabis. In the suit, Dan Seum Jr., Amy Stalker, and Danny Belcher argue that over half of all American citizens are able to effectively use cannabis as a treatment for various illnesses, and that Kentucky residents should have those same rights. “It becomes cruel when you have a solution that works and is helping people in other states, but if people use it here, they’re criminals,” Stalker said.

The lawsuit, which names Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear as defendants, argues that the state's ban of medical marijuana violates the plaintiffs' rights under the Kentucky Constitution to be free of the “absolute and arbitrary power” of the government over their “lives, liberty, and property.” The plaintiffs asked the court to decriminalize marijuana possession and trafficking for them “insofar as they seek to use cannabis for valid medicinal purposes.”

“I know veterans who are drugged out of their minds on 25 or 30 pills for all sorts of stuff, approved by the VA. They drug the daylights out of us Vietnam vets because they don’t know what else to do with us,” Belcher said. “And then I’ve got friends in the states where (marijuana) is legal, and they’re getting the relief that they need. These aren’t a bunch of stoners using it recreationally. They use it when they’re in pain, and that’s it, and it works for them.”

Kentucky currently only allows medical marijuana in the form of CBD oil, which can only be prescribed to children suffering from seizure disorders. Beshear has said that he would not support any form of cannabis legalization unless the FDA approved it as a medicine, but Governor Bevin has taken a more open-minded stance.

“I am not against the idea of medical marijuana if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way that we would other pharmaceutical drugs,” Bevin said in a recent interview. “I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. But again, that’s a function of (a bill) making its way to me. I don’t get to do that executively, it would have to be a bill.”


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Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.



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