Boyle Fiscal Court declines to consider medical marijuana resolution

Published 8:33 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Boyle County Fiscal Court regulars were forced into the hallway for the first portion of Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, as members of the public advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana filled nearly every available seat in the courtroom.

But they soon left without getting the resolution from magistrates they wanted.

Tim Simpson, a Perryville resident, asked for the medical marijuana issue to be put on the agenda, Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney told magistrates.

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“This is not a public hearing,” McKinney said. “Mr. Simpson came to me and he said, ‘would you put this on the agenda?’ And I said, ‘prepare me a resolution.’ Which he did — he did it the correct way. … I put it on to see if you all have any interest in taking it up. If you want to, we can take it up; if you don’t, we can simply let it lie. That is your choice.”

Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney recommended magistrates not take up a resolution approving of medical marijuana during Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting. (Photo by Ben Kleppinger)

The proposed resolution would have stated that the fiscal court “urges the Kentucky General Assembly to adopt House Bill 166 or any other legislation that would legalize medical cannabis in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and provide for the care, comfort and relief of any Kentuckian who may benefit.” Among other things, the document states that “thousands of Kentuckians suffer from debilitating pain and symptoms from numerous diseases or chronic illnesses;” that military veterans “suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder;” and that “medical cannabis is widely known to limit the negative symptoms and debilitating pain for patients.”

McKinney said he would need to hear from someone on the fiscal court that they were interested in the resolution or he would move on to the next agenda item.

“I would like to hear something about it. I do think it might be an important item,” Magistrate Patty Burke said. “I personally know someone who left — moved out of the state — because their child needed it.”

McKinney granted Simpson time to speak about his cause.

Simpson said he and others with him represent the groups Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition and Secretary of State Alison Grimes’ Medical Marijuana Task Force.

There are two bills currently filed in Frankfort — House Bill 166 and Senate Bill 118 — that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, Simpson said.

“Thousands of Kentuckians can benefit from this,” he said. “… It’s time to realize that we’ve been going down the wrong road in medicine, as far as pharmaceuticals.”

McKinney said he doesn’t think the fiscal court needs to take up the issue.

“I don’t think we need to do anything,” he said. “I think this needs to go through the legislature — see where they are on it. I’m not convinced that the findings (in the resolution) are something we need to put our name to. I hear what you’re saying sir, and I appreciate it. But my advice to this body is to let the legislature sort this out and we’ll see what the Kentucky and American medical associations say on this.”

McKinney permitted two other people to speak briefly about pain they have suffered through and how marijuana has helped or could help them deal with the pain. Then he asked magistrates again if they would like to take up the matter for discussion. Burke said she had heard enough; magistrates Donnie Coffman, Jack Hendricks, John Caywood, Dickie Mayes and Phil Sammons said nothing.

“I’m going to take your silence as you’re finished, we’re not going to take it up?” McKinney asked. “… OK. Thank you all for being here; we’re going to move on.”