LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last April, Jennifer Dunegan showed Spectrum News 1 the seemingly endless supply of medications she takes to deal with epilepsy, a stomach disease and Type 1 diabetes.
Around that time, bills to decriminalize marijuana or legalize medical marijuana were stalled in the Kentucky legislature.
“Our legislators just are not listening to us,” she said then.
But this week, Dunegan feels heard, with the recent passage of Senate Bill 47, legalizing medical cannabis.
“I do feel like they have finally listened,” said Dunegan, who is part of the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition. “I still think there’s still a lot of work to be done, conditions to be added to the list. I will qualify under this bill due to my epilepsy.”
Supporters of the effort to legalize medical cannabis in Kentucky say they’re relieved, even if the legislation signed by the governor last week won’t go into effect until 2025.
Dunegan is already looking forward to cutting out some of her medications.
“I’m just happy that we’re going in the right direction, that we’re not at a standstill ... there is movement now and that if people are not currently using because they’re scared, they will be able to use soon and they will be able to get products close to home, hopefully,” she said.
In the meantime, Dunegan said she carries a letter from a doctor certifying that she has epilepsy.
That’s one of the qualifying conditions under Gov. Andy Beshear’s Nov. 2022 executive order granting a pardon for possessing medical marijuana purchased legally outside the state.
Under the bill Beshear signed on March 31, medical cannabis could be used for conditions like cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and others.
The bill would ban smokable cannabis products.