Medical marijuana bill honors Gatewood Galbraith
FRANKFORT, KY. — Sen. Perry Clark invoked the legacy of the late marijuana advocate Gatewood Galbraith on Thursday, announcing plans to refile legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The bill, called the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, would reclassify the drug as a Schedule II substance available for medical treatment under a doctor’s direction.
It also would allow patients to possess up to 5 ounces of marijuana or cultivate up to five plants for their own medicinal use.
Clark, D-Louisville, was joined Thursday by members of Galbraith’s family and dozens of supporters who exchanged personal testimonies about the drug’s benefits for diseases that range from cancer to mood disorders.
“Right now there are hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are suffering, and they need access to this plant,” said Galbraith’s daughter, Molly Galbraith.
Clark said he has recommendations from doctors and has personally smoked marijuana, but is not a chronic user. He said he is not concerned that the admission would affect his electability and called the issue too important to delay.
“The concept of the prohibition of a medicine is opposed to the very freedoms that his country was about,” he said. “This is a liberty issue for me.”
Galbraith, a Lexington attorney who died in January, was a longtime proponent of medical marijuana and industrial hemp as he ran as an unsuccessful candidate for some of Kentucky’s highest elected offices, including five bids for governor.
Clark sponsored a similar bill in his honor during this year’s legislative session, but it stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
A spokeswoman for Senate Republican leaders said Thursday that the bill will be reviewed through the normal committee process in 2013.
Clark acknowledged that the measure does not yet have enough votes to pass, arguing that voters must rise up and demand support from lawmakers.
“It’s going to be very, very difficult, but with a groundswell of people, you can actually make this happen,” he said.
Reporter Mike Wynn can be reached at (502) 875-5136.