Posted on 2/2/14

marijuana leaf 300(Photo courtesy of "How Stuff Works.")FRANKFORT, Ky. (2/10/14) – Legislation would allow people with debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana without fear of arrest.

A bill that would allow seriously ill Kentuckians to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.

The Cannabis Compassion Act, or HB 350, was introduced by long-time lawmaker and registered nurse Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville).

It is very similar to SB 43, which was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) earlier this year.     

The bill is the first effective medical marijuana bill ever to be introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

HB 350 would allow patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other serious conditions to use medical marijuana with a recommendation from their doctor.

Patients and caregivers would be able to possess up to three ounces at a time and grow up to 12 plants per patient.

The bill would also establish safety compliance facilities and would permit one medical marijuana compassion center for every 100,000 residents to ensure safe and reliable access for patients.

"There is no longer any doubt that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for a number of serious medical conditions and symptoms," said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. "A clear majority of Kentuckians agree that no one deserves to be treated like a criminal for using medical marijuana recommended by their doctors."

Lawmakers concerned about medical marijuana should ask themselves what they would do if a loved one was suffering from a serious illness and a physician suggested that marijuana could help.

Nearly 80% of Kentucky adults believe people with serious illnesses should be allowed to buy and use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctors recommend it, according to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll released in May 2013.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow people with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors.

At least 15 more states will consider medical marijuana bills this year.

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000.

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