With 29 states and the District of Columbia legalizing medical marijuana, it’s becoming harder for states with prohibition to continue to deny its medicinal value. 3 Kentucky residents have decided to take this to a new level. They have banded together to file a lawsuit against the state, demanding that the ban on medical marijuana be lifted. Dan Seum Jr. and Amy Stalker of Jefferson County and Danny Belcher of Bath County are saying that it is unconstitutional to ban the use of a medication that is safe, non-addictive and very effective at treating the kind of debilitating disorders from which people like them suffer.
Treated “as Criminals Rather Than Patients”
The lawsuit says, “Over half of the country allows patients suffering from chronic pain and other ailments to use cannabis instead of the often dangerous and addictive alternative of prescription pharmaceuticals. Kentucky, however, treats its suffering citizens who turn to cannabis for medical purposes as criminals rather than patients in need of safe relief.”
Vulnerability to Opioid Addiction
Seum is the son of a Republican state senator. He used to be a middle school football coach and suffered from debilitating back pain for more than 20 years of his life. He tried to treat his symptoms with OxyContin and discovered that he had become severely addicted to the prescription opioid painkiller. The side effects of the drug left him with disturbed cognitive functions and motor skills. This led him to try marijuana which worked to treat the opioid addiction as well as his back pain without the debilitating addiction or side effects.
Finding Relief in Other States
Stalker was prescribed prescription medication for treating her bipolar disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. She suffered from severe side effects, including seizures, which led her to try medical marijuana as a form of treatment. It worked to treat her conditions without the side effects that were harming her health. She underwent medical marijuana treatment in Colorado and Washington, where she lived for a time, but when she came home to Kentucky to care for her mother, she was met with the ban.
Belcher served in the Vietnam War and struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcoholism and a spinal fracture. He was prescribed pharmaceutical drugs but found that the addiction and side effects ruined his quality of life. He was able to manage his PTSD and his pain and quit drinking with the help of marijuana.
Meet the Defendants
The defendants are Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear. Earlier this year Bevin said, “I am not opposed to the idea of medical marijuana. If prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way that we would other pharmaceutical drugs, I think it would be appropriate in many respects.”
Statistics indicate that in all places that have legalized marijuana, opioid addiction is down approximately 23 percent. Kentucky has the 3rd worst opioid epidemic in the country with thousands of people dying each year from overdoses, both from heroin and prescription opioids. All in all, medical marijuana has the potential to save lives and improve the quality of life for many people suffering from debilitating conditions. This lawsuit aims to get rid of the threat of prosecution that Kentucky residents might face, for using a plant that is legal in most of the country and safer and healthier than alcohol, cigarettes and prescription medication.