(LEX 18) — In some states, people use marijuana for medical reasons, and they do it legally. In Kentucky, it’s still a crime.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening here.
Medical marijuana triggers emotional arguments from both sides of the issue.
Some are very strongly against it becoming legalized. They say it’s an illegal drug that shouldn’t be welcomed in the commonwealth.
But others insist it’s good medicine that works for them. They say they want to treat pain and other symptoms using it without fear of arrest and prosecution.
Because it’s illegal, many will not publicly admit to using marijuana here. But two men told LEX 18 they’re willing to fight to legalize its use here.
“Some pain medication, some muscle relaxants, some vitamins, some blood pressure medicine, sleep aids,” said Jaime Montalvo, listing a regimen that takes up much of his day to treat his multiple sclerosis.
“I got on a pill diet basically,” he said. “I would wake up in the morning, take a fistful of pills. For lunch, I would have a smaller fistful, and for dinner I would have a large fistful again.
“If you have a chronic illness and you are a disabled patient, you are prescribed a minimum of three to five prescriptions,” he said.
Chris Breseman faces similar circumstances for different reasons.
“This is my pain medicine,” he said. “This is methadone. It’s a 5-milligram pill.”
Breseman’s pain makes it impossible to work, so he spends the day taking things slowly. A few bites of food, some video games and short walk with his dog, Lewy.
But this is not how he imagined his life playing out. Breseman once had a thriving military career.
“I worked at Lackland Airforce Base around the B-2s,” he said.
But his career was cut short when a gunman in Colorado nearly killed him.
Breseman and Montalvo have one other thing in common: They have both used marijuana to treat their symptoms.
“Cannabis was effective for me,” says Montalvo.
“I just couldn’t take it anymore and tried it, and the outcome was way more than anyone expected and I’ve continued since,” he said.
He said that marijuana allowed him to go from 29 daily prescriptions down to three.
“It all wipes away when I take a puff of cannabis,” he said of its effectiveness.
Montalvo says medical marijuana helped him so much he began growing his own behind closed doors.
“Suppressed my nausea — my vomitting,” he said. “I was able to sleep a little bit better at night. My pain went down,” he said.
But that cam crashing down when a bank down the street was robbed.
“Guy robbed a bank at the end of my street, runs in front of my home, and behind him come cops with dogs,” he said. “They smell my home where I was growing.”
Montalvo was arrested and ended up losing custody of his son.
“I lost custody for six months and it wasn’t for cultivation. It wasn’t for possession. It wasn’t for trafficking. It was simply testing positive for cannabis,” he said.
He now fights in Frankfort. He started the group Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana and lobbies to make cannabis legal.
Breseman is part of the effort as well.
“I just want to pay taxes on this stuff,” he said. “I don’t want to give my money to a drug dealer.”