A house bill filed during Kentucky’s 2019 legislative session would effectively legalize medical marijuana to help Kentuckians suffering from “debilitating illnesses and excruciating pain.” But for one Republican lawmaker, his support for the legislation comes from personal experience more than anything.
State Sen. Dan Neum told local reporters this week he used medical marijuana instead of opiates after he was diagnosed with colon cancer seven years ago.
“They gave me that nice bottle of OxyContin,” Seum said, according to Kentucky’s WKYT. “I threw it in the garbage can and went home and smoked a joint.”
Seum, who has also filed legislation in the senate that would legalize adult-use cannabis, understood the possible ramifications of his admissions. But he told reporters that he his experience should serve as positive proof when lawmakers consider the upcoming legalization bills.
Sen. Dan Seum says when dealing with colon cancer 7 years ago “They sent me home with that nice bottle of OxyContin. I flushed it down the toilet and smoked a joint.” #kyga19 pic.twitter.com/ObJxM6Xw5k
— Hillary Thornton Smith (@HillaryUKPR) January 9, 2019
“You know when I was a young man, if you could get a hold of Columbia Gold [a strain of marijuana], you really had something, and nobody has died from it that I know of,” he said. “Sometimes there is this little thing called unjust law, and that’s what we’ve got when we put this thing as a Schedule I.”
The the medical marijuana house legislation would make medical marijuana available for up to 60,000 Kentuckians. Within the state, medical cannabis would be governed by the Department of Public Protection’s Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. One sponsors characterized it as a “Trust your doctor bill” while Rep. Diane St. Onge, another sponsor, emphasized the bill is not designed to generate tax revenue.
House Speaker David Osborne told reporters he isn’t sure if the bill will have the proper support or not to pass.
“I’m not going to go as far as to say there is adequate support in the House, but there is certainly significant discussion,” Osborne said. “I’m not ready to predict where that might lead at this point.”