“I hope that folks are going to see that when registered nurses say this is an important access to care issue, that folks are going to look at it as the medical and patient care issue that it is and not as a social issue,” says Maureen Keenan, executive director of the Kentucky Nurses Association, which is a state branch of the American Nurses Association (founded nearly 120 years ago in 1897).
Republican Matt Bevin, who’s Kentucky’s governor-elect after beating Democrat Jack Conway by a comfortable nine-point margin, is in complete support of legalizing medical cannabis, including establishing a system that allows patients safe access to the medicine.
During a debate on October 25, Bevin said that there is ‘unequivocal medical evidence’ that cannabis has medical value, and that he supports establishing a medical cannabis program which would allow the plant to be ‘prescribed like any other prescription drug.’ Conway, Bevin’s rival and the apparent loser of the race, disagreed, saying that legalizing medical cannabis would make it easier for children to get (an argument science has continually disproven).
“I think it’s going to get some play this session; I don’t know how much,” says Stumbo, noting that although Kentucky lawmakers have been hesitant of legalizing medical cannabis in past sessions, the momentum for change is increasing.
As part of the upcoming bill, cannabis possession and use would be legal for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician. “Compassion centers” would be established as a means of safe access to the medicine.