A local cannabis advocate has been appointed to the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee by Gov. Andy Beshear.
A news release said the committee “will help advise him on providing access to medical cannabis for Kentuckians suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions.”
Rineyville resident Julie Cantwell has been working to advocate for medical marijuana for the past eight years. It began with her son, Preston, who began treating his epilepsy with CBD oil.
In April, Beshear said he would be doing a four-step process to try and get cannabis legalized. One of those steps was creating this committee.
Cantwell said when she saw this, she emailed Beshear letting him know her interest to be on the committee and provided her qualifications.
She said she didn’t hear back from him for seven to eight weeks, but received a call about the appointment in the past week.
“I’m really excited. I can’t wait to work with the governor, and I can’t wait to do what I can to help patients,” she said.
Earlier this year, Cantwell advocated for the passing of Kentucky House Bill 136, which would have legalized medical marijuana. However, HB136 did not end up passing.
“I was really let down when it didn’t happen, because I think everybody felt like it was surely gonna happen,” she said.
Cantwell said she’s hoping this committee along with other efforts will create more pressure onto the legislature to eventually pass something to legalize cannabis.
She said as part of the committee one of her duties will be traveling around the state to collect data and stories from Kentucky patients and provide that feedback to the governor.
“Do I feel optimistic? Yes, absolutely. We are one of 13 states that don’t have medical cannabis. And it’s just time,” she said.
Cantwell said she is one of the co-founders of the Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis Facebook page, where she features patients from around the state telling their stories.
She said she wants to continue to advocate for patients in a similar capacity while on the committee.
“I think it’s very important. I think that the governor knows that,” Cantwell said. “I mean, there’s a lot of people that are sick and suffering … this is something that could possibly help.”