A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis launches statewide grassroots campaign to promote medical marijuana

Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis, LLC has launched a statewide grassroots campaign seeking to pass legislation that will legalize, regulate, and tax medical marijuana in Kentucky.

The campaign – known as Compassionate Access and Relief Effectiveness (CARE) for Kentucky – advocates that citizens and policymakers support legislation currently before the Kentucky General Assembly to legalize medical cannabis.

The campaign, which wants to mobilize Kentuckians to support this cause, has launched an advocacy website at www.kyneedscare.com. Visitors to the website can learn more about this issue and easily send direct messages to their state legislators asking them to support the legislation.

“One doesn’t have to be pro-cannabis to be pro alleviating pain and suffering,” said Michael Raus, founder of Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis, LLC. “We are simply asking lawmakers to have enough compassion to give those in pain an important medicine that can make their lives better, and in some cases, actually save their lives. We are asking lawmakers to CARE.”

Medical cannabis has proven to provide relief to individuals suffering from chronic pain, according to a review of relevant research on cannabis since 1999 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

“The products created by this industry will provide real relief to thousands of patients suffering from debilitating diseases, such as cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, just to name a few,” Raus said.

Raus said the other major benefits of the proposed legislation are helping deal with Kentucky’s current heroin/opioid epidemic as well as its fiscal crisis. “The legalization, regulation, and taxation of medical cannabis can help address both of these pressing needs,” Raus said.

Kentucky ranks third in the United States in opioid-abuse mortality rates and the state saw a 21-percent increase in opioid overdose deaths just last year. A recent University of Georgia study found that states that enact medical cannabis laws see an 11-percent drop in opioid prescriptions. States with medical cannabis laws have a 25 percent lower mean annual opioid mortality rate compared to states without these laws, according to a study in the Journal of American Medical Association.

Furthermore, taxes generated by the new industry would help Kentucky address its current public-pension crisis and provide the significant revenue needed for the state’s general fund, Raus said.

“Creating this new industry in our state will generate millions of dollars in state and local tax revenue while also create high-paying jobs — at a time when state and local governments are in desperate need of new revenue.”

To date, 26 states have legalized medical marijuana. Kentucky’s neighbor to the east –West Virginia – passed this legislation last year. West Virginia projects that the sale of medical cannabis will generate nearly $45 million in additional tax revenues in that state. Michigan conservatively estimates that it will receive approximately $64 million in new tax revenue related to the sale of medical cannabis.

“Now is the time for Kentucky to join the other 29 states in our country to legalize medical cannabis and bring compassionate access and relief to thousands of Kentuckians suffering pain from debilitating diseases,” Raus said.

“We want residents across the state to engage with their lawmakers to strongly urge them to support this legislation,” he said. “Medical cannabis will not only provide relief to thousands of Kentuckians suffering from chronic pain and other medical issues, but it also can help reduce our dependency on addictive opioids and provide the financial support that our state desperately needs right now.”

From Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis

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