FRANKFORT, Ky. — Following up on his announcement in late April, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the members of the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee that will help advise him on providing access to medical cannabis for Kentuckians suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions.
Through an executive order, the Governor named 17 initial members, who have relevant experience in health care, treatment of opioid use disorder and other diseases of addiction, law enforcement, criminal justice, and advocacy for medical cannabis. The committee will soon travel the state and listen to Kentuckians’ views on medical cannabis and provide that feedback to the Governor.
“Polling suggests 90% of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis, while at the same time, far too many in our state who could benefit from it are suffering. It is simply time that something more is done,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to make sure every voice is heard as I am weighing executive action that could provide access to medical cannabis in the commonwealth.”
Medical cannabis is often utilized as an alternative to highly addictive opioids, many of which are still prescribed to deal with patients’ pain. And, while lawmakers in Frankfort have failed to act, a total of 38 states – including neighboring Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia – allow cannabis for medical use when prescribed by qualified individuals to help provide treatment for such medical conditions as cancer; ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease; epilepsy and seizures; Parkinson’s disease; Crohn’s disease; multiple sclerosis; severe and chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Kerry Harvey and Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet Ray Perry will serve as co-chairs of the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee. Other members are:
- Dr. Amber Cann of La Grange, pharmacy coach and adjunct professor at Spalding University;
- Julie Cantwell of Rineyville, advocate with Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana;
- Jennifer Cave of Louisville, member, Stites and Harbison;
- Eric Crawford of Maysville, advocate;
- Cookie Crews of Frankfort, commissioner of the Department of Corrections;
- Dr. John Farmer of Louisville, OB/GYN, medical director of Solid Ground Counseling and Recovery, addiction treatment provider in Louisville, Morehead and Hazard;
- Dr. Jonathan Hatton of Whitesburg, family medicine, Mountain Comprehensive Health;
- Brian Jointer of Jeffersonville, Indiana, certified public health worker in Louisville;
- Dr. Nick Kouns of Lexington, internal medicine, Clark Regional Medical Center;
- Alex Kreit of Cincinnati, Ohio, director of the Chase Center on Addiction Law and Policy at Northern Kentucky University;
- Dr. Linda McClain of Louisville, OB/GYN, Commonwealth Counseling Center;
- Andrew Sparks of Lexington, former assistant U.S. Attorney;
- Dee Dee Taylor of Louisville, chief executive officer, 502 Hemp Wellness Center;
- Julie Wallace of Morganfield, Union County Attorney; and
- Kristin Wilcox of Beaver Dam, co-founder of Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis.
The committee will come together for the first time in the near future to schedule town hall meetings that will be held throughout the commonwealth. Townhall meetings will be open to the public for discussion and feedback from residents, local leaders, health care providers, and advocacy groups. Meeting details will be released in advance.
The Governor also announced the launch of a new website where Kentuckians can learn more about the upcoming work of the advisory committee and submit their own feedback. The website is medicalcannabis.ky.gov.
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