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Is Public Opinion Ahead of Science As Medical Marijuana Gets Closer to Legalization in Kentucky?

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Lisa Autry
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As medical marijuana legislation inches closer toward approval in the Kentucky General Assembly, one group is urging lawmakers to consider the risk to public health. 

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky hasn’t taken a position on the issue because of what it says is a lack of science behind the effectiveness and potential dangers of medical marijuana.  However, a poll released last month by the group found that 90 percent of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical marijuana.

Foundation President Ben Chandler says there are lessons to be learned from the 33 states that already allow the drug to be used in various forms.

"Look at those learns and experiences of other states. If you find something that’s caused some difficulty, try to address that in our legislation," Chandler said in an interview with WKU Public Radio. "This is a chance to get out ahead of it, instead of having to clean up a mess later.”

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky would like to see several safeguards in the legislation such as regulations on the potency of the drug, child-proof packaging, and dedicated money for enforcement and education. 

A medical marijuana bill passed the Kentucky House in February and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. 

The legislation has advanced farther this session than any other time in state history. 

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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