Emotional Judge-Executive Kevin Henderson supports local family with baby diagnosed with brain disorder as he backs legalization of medical marijuana in KY; Fiscal Court unanimously agrees

A group of citizens from Grayson County lobbied Grayson County Fiscal Court asking for support for a resolution that will be presented to the Kentucky General Assembly promoting the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.

Local resident Alexandria Fulkerson, who’s 10-month old daughter, Kolbie, suffers from polymicrogyria, was the impetus that pushed her friends, family and medical marijuana advocates to ask Judge-Executive Kevin Henderson and magistrates to consider supporting legislation that legalizes medical marijuana because of its therapeutic effects on those who suffer from seizures; which afflicts Kolbie to a frightening degree.

Polymicrogyria is a condition characterized by abnormal development of the brain before birth. The surface of the brain normally has many ridges or folds, called gyri, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In people with polymicrogyria, the brain develops too many folds, and the folds are unusually small.

Bilateral forms of polymicrogyria tend to cause more severe neurological problems. Signs and symptoms of these conditions can include recurrent seizures (epilepsy), delayed development, crossed eyes, problems with speech and swallowing, and muscle weakness or paralysis. The most severe form of the disorder, bilateral generalized polymicrogyria, affects the entire brain. This condition causes severe intellectual disability, problems with movement, and seizures that are difficult or impossible to control with medication.

Alexandria Fulkerson, who first presented her proposal to Fiscal Court last month, is unable to travel with Kolbie to the nearest state where medical marijuana is legal (Illinois) due to the baby’s fragile condition, and has been desperate to help ease her baby’s pain and suffering, leading her to join the effort to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.

At first reticent of speaking positively about medical marijuana, Henderson noted his long years in law enforcement as thinking negatively about legalizing marijuana in any form, but after consulting with doctors and other professionals, the Judge-Executive has had a change of heart.

In a 10-minute statement on his views on medical marijuana at Tuesday afternoon’s Fiscal Court meeting, Henderson said:

“As I’ve said before, as a 27-year veteran of law enforcement, probably five years ago I would have said I am completely against (the legalization of medical marijuana). But as I told you all, I am open-minded, and I do my research … I can tell you this, I have five kids of my own (and) I will do anything that I can do for my child, short of being illegal. I don’t know what I would do; I don’t think anyone in this room knows what they would do (in your situation).

“I have a lot of friends that are doctors and I just want to address the court, and tell them … I asked a lot of folks what their thoughts were on it … I got with a lot of doctors, local doctors, and I have one (doctor), and I don’t want to bring up his name because he’s not in politics and it wouldn’t be fair to him … I asked him, ‘What’s your thoughts on medical marijuana?’ He said it’s a definite benefit. It helps nausea (from the side-effects of chemotherapy), appetite loss, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain syndromes, inflammation, muscle spasms, post traumatic stress disorder, and epilepsy. And I’m going to tell you, this is a guy; if it’s a medical question, if he told me I needed to do something, I’d do it … I trust him that much.

“And I just didn’t ask him. I asked a lot of other doctors … But if the legislation passes … I don’t people coat-tailing you all … for recreational use. I’m not for recreational use. I am not for the recreational use of marijuana.

“My father, and Norman (Chaffins) will not care if I say this, my father and his father were raging alcoholics. My father died an alcoholic. I think alcohol is a far worse drug than marijuana. I’ve seen it destroy people … Some of the doctors that I spoke with said you could smoke a bale of marijuana and not overdose. But if you drink a fifth of vodka, and you’ve never drank, you could be dead the next morning.

“I listened to the medical professionals (on the medical marijuana issue) … and as far as I’m concerned, I am wholeheartedly for your child,” an emotional Henderson strongly stated. And with that, Henderson received an ovation not only from supporters of the Fulkerson family, but from everyone present.

Henderson then struggled to say, “I try to imagine my own child being there (in Kolbie’s condition), excuse me,” he said as he composed himself, “and what you’re going through … “

Following supportive comments about medical marijuana from Magistrates Brenda Huffman and Presto Gary, Fiscal Court unanimously voted to support the legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky.

The measure Fiscal Court is supporting is entitled, Resolution Supporting Medical Cannabis Legalization In Kentucky, and will be presented to the General Assembly for its consideration in the next session, which begins in January 2019.

(Headline photo: Kolbie Saltsman)

Judge-Executive Kevin Henderson with K0lbie Saltsman and supporters of medical marijuana.

By Ken Howlett, News Director

Contact Ken at ken@k105.com or 2760-259-6000