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Grimes Empanels Task Force On Medical Marijuana

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
Kentucky democratic candidate for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes speaks to the crowd at the Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015.

Kentucky’s secretary of state is getting behind medical marijuana – by convening a task force to study the issue and propose a framework for implementation in the commonwealth.

In a press release, Alison Lundergan Grimes – a Democrat – says too many Kentuckians are suffering from debilitating physical and mental illnesses that could be eased by medicinal marijuana, and she’s bringing together physicians, law enforcement, veterans, and others to tackle the issue.

The panel will be co-chaired by state Rep. John Sims, who is putting together medical marijuana legalization legislation for the 2018 session. Sims says the research is there and Kentucky is being left behind.

The issue represents a rare chance for bipartisan cooperation with the Republican administration. Gov. Matt Bevin has repeatedly come out in favor of medical marijuana, saying evidence of the benefits is unequivocal and he would prefer that’s dispensed and regulated like any other drug.

Still, early reaction from GOP quarters appears chilly, with Republican Party of Kentucky spokesperson Tres Watson telling the Lexington Herald-Leader, “I think it’s laughable that Alison Grimes is so desperate for political attention that she’s inserting herself into matters that have nothing to do with the job Kentuckians elected her to do."

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.