Hendersonians fighting for medical marijuana access ask others to make feelings known – The Gleaner

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HENDERSON, Ky. – Henderson residents battling chronic diseases are still fighting for access to medical marijuana, and they are asking others to take the time to voice their support as House Bill 136 — which would allow the use of medical marijuana under strict conditions — moves through the current session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

HB 136, which lists Rep. Rob Wiederstein (D-Henderson) among the co-sponsors, made it out of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday on a decisive 17 to 1 vote.

Those who follow this issue say it will likely now pass in the Kentucky House, but faces a tough and uncertain road in the Senate. (Henderson Sen. Robby Mills, a Republican, has been a vocal opponent of medical marijuana.)

Grace Henderson and Brandi Myers, two Henderson activists in the fight for medical cannabis, are urging everyone to call their lawmakers and make their feelings known.

“I would like to ask everyone to call the legislative hotline and leave a message,” said Henderson, who has suffered from a variety of digestive and related autoimmune illnesses for years.

How to speak out

Henderson said it only takes a minute or so to make your opinion known to officials: Kentucky residents can call 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for their state lawmakers, or any others.

House Bill 136 would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis and set up a regulatory framework for patients to obtain the product at approved dispensaries. 

A recent poll shows overwhelming public support for making medical cannabis available.

Nine in 10 who responded to a Kentucky Health Issues Poll supported medical marijuana legalization in 2019. That’s up from not quite 8 in 10 in 2012.

And a solid majority of Kentuckians now support the legalization of marijuana for any use, the poll shows. Support for legalizing cannabis for any use now is 59 percent, up nearly 20 points from seven years ago.

Pleading their case

Henderson and Myers, who has a high-school age daughter living with debilitating ulcerative colitis, say they’ve found help by using CBD oil — which is made from the non-psychoactive hemp version of cannabis.

But they also say being able to use full-spectrum medical marijuana would do wonders for diseases that include daily struggles such inflammation, pain, lack of appetite, depression, anxiety and more.

“Thirty-three states and the District of the Columbia have medical marijuana,” said Henderson. “Sixty-six percent of the population of the United States now has access to medical marijuana. But because we were born in the state of Kentucky, we are denied that right to try that.

“I think we should have the right to try. They are now fast tracking some drugs. If we’re allowed to try drugs that they have only researched for 10 to 15 years, why can we not try a medicine that has been around since the beginning of time, that has been scientifically researched since the 1950s.”

Myers said CBD has done great things for her daughter. But she still struggles with her health.

“She’s been helped a lot,” Myers said. “Her blood levels are stable, which means her doctors are happy enough that she can come off some of her medicines.”

She said that’s all because of CBD oil and probiotics.

Before CBD oil,” she took 18 medicines a day.”

But the HCHS senior still has rough times and has to deal with pain and digestive issues that are incredibly complicated and painful.

In other states, Myers said, medical cannabis is widely used for the same issues her daughter faces.

“It eases symptoms, some patients go into remission which means their inflammatory markers, the uclers in their colons, go down. They have a better quality of life.”

“My daughter, I don’t want her smoking it,” Myers said. “We’re not going there. If she was able to use it, she would use the oil. And what boggles my mind, is she only needs a little bit. Just a little bit.”

Nearby states such as Illinois and Ohio already allow access to medical marijuana.

Myers and Henderson say they are just asking for the same opportunity, without relying on expensive pills that often have their own devastating side effects.

“Pharmaceuticals or nothing shouldn’t be our only option when there’s another option, and there’s a safer option,” said Henderson.

“How many livers and kidneys are we going to knock out by just throwing prescriptions at them? In the meantime, you can try something all natural. We should be able to try it. It’s my right to decide what goes into my body.”

More: Henderson families battling serious illnesses want right to use medical marijuana

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