Reality Check: "Difference between life and death"

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A battle over medical marijuana is beginning in the Bluegrass. Senate Bill 11 would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Some law enforcement groups argue the federal government does not recognize marijuana to have any legitimate medicinal purposes. Those battling severe pain disagree.

We talked to a Lexington man named Alex. He says he smokes marijuana every chance gets to to ease the pain from a four wheeler accident that severed his spine at age 14.

"I can't feel my right leg from the knee down ...and sporadic parts of my left leg," Alex says.

He says the pain is constant and so intense, he's considered suicide more than once.

"What I'm dealing with in life right now is so excruciating that I'd be compassionate in doing that."

Alex claims prescription drugs like Lortab leave him lethargic and are not very effective in dulling the pain. His mother remembers the boy in middle school who played football, baseball and, as a freshman in high school, enjoyed the marching band. She supports his use of marijuana and says it makes a huge difference.

"Smiling ... can actually function ... it's great," says Alex's mother.

"Three or four hits and I'm already feeling relief in my lower back," Alex says.

Senate bill 11 would require patients to receive written certification from a doctor for using marijuana. The registered patient must not have more than six ounces of marijuana and twelve mature plants or seedlings. A designated caregiver would also be protected from prosecution. The bill would not allow a patient to have or use marijuana on school grounds or in public places.

A spokesman for the Kentucky State Police says they oppose the bill claiming, "to distinguish what would be grown and or possessed for legal use versus illegal use would prove to be difficult, making our enforcement efforts less efficient and possibly effective."

Even one of the bill sponsors believes it has a slim chance of becoming law this year. Still, Alex hopes one day he will not be in the shadows.

"I don't feel like a criminal, but I am one. There are many people who could benefit from this."

The medical marijuana bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee right now.

It was also filed in last year's legislative session, but never had a hearing.

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