Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2018
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2018 Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: Jack Brammer


FRANKFORT -- Four law enforcement officials and a doctor urged state 
lawmakers Tuesday to say no to a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.

For more than an hour, opponents of House Bill 166 told members of the
House Judiciary Committee the ills they see in it.

Their predictions about passage of the measure included an increase in
crime, creation of trafficking problems along the state's borders, an
enhancement of economic and social costs, temptations of children to
use marijuana and uncertain physical outcomes over long-term usage.

Eric Crawford, a quadriplegic from Maysville who supports medical
marijuana to ease his debilitating pain from glaucoma and a 1994
accident, said the hearing reminded him of the 1936 cult film "Reefer

The film revolved around melodramatic events experienced by high
school students when they tried marijuana -- from hallucinations to

Crawford and supporters testified Monday for the bill, which would
create a legal framework for medical marijuana. They said it would
help reduce pain for thousands of Kentuckians ad prevent them from
getting addicted to opioids.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, would require a
doctor to recommend medical marijuana before a patient could get it.
It would be dispensed through a state-regulated dispensary. A city or
a county would have a local-option vote to allow the medical marijuana.

If the local government doesn't act on it in two years, residents
could petition for a vote, similar to a wet-dry vote.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia offer medical
marijuana and Virginia and Tennessee are considering it this year.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Ft.
Thomas, said the bill will be on the committee's agenda Wednesday for
a possible vote.

Speaking against the bill Tuesday were Keith Cain of Daviess County,
president of the Kentucky Sheriffs' Association; Dr. Danesh
Mazloomdoost, an interventional pain doctor from Lexington who
represented the Kentucky Medical Association; Shawn Butler of Northern
Kentucky, representing the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police;
Tommy Loving of Bowling Green, executive director of the Kentucky
Narcotics Officers Association; and Commonwealth's Attorney
Christopher T. Cohron of Bowling Green.

Cain warned the legislators to "tread lightly" with medical marijuana
until there is more research.

Mazloomdoost said marijuana is not medicine and there is little
information about its long-term effects. He did acknowledge that
specific molecules in marijuana could be beneficial.

"Allow this to be done by scientists, not those in business," he

Cohron called marijuana "a gateway drug in our criminal justice
system" and "a fool's gold."

Several legislators voiced the need for more research.

Rep. Kevin Sinnette, D-Ashland, said he didn't know if the fight over
the issue was based on its demonization or whether it could help
someone with pain.

He said legislators should not confuse medical and recreational
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