In this Q&A with Weed360, the daughter of the late Gatewood Galbraithâ€”one of Kentuckyâ€™s visible supporters of marijuana legalizationâ€”talks about continuing her fatherâ€™s legacy.
Kentuckyâ€™s marijuana legalization advocates will have a big reason to celebrate if Senate Bill 129 gets approved in 2013. Sponsored by Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville), the bill will allow patients with debilitating diseases such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer to use medical marijuana with a doctorâ€™s prescription.
Seeing marijuana legalized would have been a dream come true for the late Gatewood Galbraith, lawyer and five-time Kentucky governor candidate, and possibly one of the biggest known advocates of medical marijuana in this generation. A gutsy and articulate advocate, Galbraith made medical marijuana legalization a platform in the gubernatorial race.
As homage to Galbraithâ€™s advocacy on marijuana legalization, Senate Bill 129 will be named the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act.
In this interview with Galbraithâ€™s daughter Molly, we get to know more of the late Gatewood Galbraith from a daughterâ€™s perspective, how it was like growing up the child of a prominent politician, and how sheâ€™s continuing her fatherâ€™s legacy in her own way.
Weed360: Your father was a prominent figure in the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky but never saw it happen in his lifetime. Do you think Kentucky is ready for medical marijuana?
Molly Galbraith: To be honest, yes, I believe the majority of Kentuckians are ready for this.Â Even if they arenâ€™t actively advocating it or wanting it for themselves, they have friends or family members whom they know will benefit from it, or they simply donâ€™t care enough to be against it.Â The problem I see is that the lawmakers in Kentucky arenâ€™t properly representing the opinions and wishes of their constituents.
I heard that 74% of Americans are for the legalization of medical marijuana and I think that Kentuckyâ€™s statistics arenâ€™t too far off from that.Â I would love to see a REAL poll taken in Kentucky on this issue so lawmakers will see that the people of Kentucky want it to happen.Â Kentucky isnâ€™t exactly known for being a progressive state, and I believe the lawmakers are afraid to put themselves out there. Â They tend to be more worried about reelection than fighting for real change.
My father actually wrote a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear several years ago and said, â€śWe can be the first state or we can be the fiftieth, but either way, this is going to happen.Â Letâ€™s be the first so that we actually have the opportunity to capitalize on the economic benefits of growing hemp for industrial purposes and marijuana for medical purposes.â€ťÂ
Weed360: How did your father get started on his advocacy to get marijuana legalized?
My father suffered from debilitating asthma all his life and was in and out of the hospital dozens of times as child.Â [When he was a young adult], one of his friends who had been overseas serving in the military introduced him to marijuana and he noticed immediately that it eradicated all of his asthmatic symptoms.Â
He also read a book called, Behind the Nylon Curtain, about the DuPont family and quickly recognized that the illegalization of hemp and marijuana was not a matter of the publicâ€™s best interest, but rather a matter of which corporations had the most money to pay lobbyists and buy legislatorâ€™s votes.Â You see, hemp and marijuana were in direct competition with DuPontâ€™s nylon, Hurstâ€™s paper, and Bayerâ€™s medicine.Â Those companies figured out that if they could spread propaganda about â€śReefer Madnessâ€ť at the same time that they were lining the pockets of the legislators, they could eliminate their main competition.Â My father saw it as the ultimate injustice.Â The corporations and the government were in bed together, making laws at the expense of the people.Â He knew something had to be done.
Weed360: Were you aware, as a child, that your father took up the cudgels for an issue that many people in Kentucky considered very controversial? Was this ever discussed over family dinners?
Yes, it was absolutely discussed and my sisters and I were known for â€śeducatingâ€ť Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers and health teachers about marijuana when we were in elementary and middle school. I am not sure if, at the time, I understood how controversial it really was.Â It was just what Dad did and I didnâ€™t think much about it one way or the other.
Weed360: Kentucky supporters are saying that they are channeling their â€śinner Gatewoodâ€ť and hope to continue the mission that your father fought for most of his life. How does this outpouring of support make you and the family feel?
Itâ€™s absolutely wonderful!Â I am so grateful to each and every one of them for dedicating their lives to finish his work.Â One of his good friends said the other day, â€śYou know how big your Daddyâ€™s feet were (size 13 at 6â€™4â€ť). Itâ€™s going to take a whole big bunch of us to fill his shoes!â€ťÂ I thought that was really beautiful.Â Itâ€™s trueâ€”it will take hundreds of people doing what he did and saying what he said to have the impact that he had.Â
Weed360: Youâ€™ve established a name for yourself in the health and fitness industry but have only recently become active in the medical marijuana discussion. Have you always been this supportive of your fatherâ€™s advocacy?
Yes, health and fitness has become my passion over the last decade and I have several businesses in the fitness industry. I have not always been this visible in the medical marijuana campaign.Â I supported my father, but with school, grad school, [having at] least two jobs, and trying to maintain some semblance of a normal schedule, I havenâ€™t had the opportunity to devote much time to it.
I am so grateful to those who are able to dedicate so much time and energy to this cause.Â It would not be moving forward like it is without you! Thank you! I have no desire or intention to try and follow in my fatherâ€™s footsteps in regards to running for public office.Â I will choose to leave my mark on the world in other ways.Â And besides . . . heâ€™s a hell of an act to follow!
Weed360: Do you have a message for supporters of Kentuckyâ€™s medical marijuana bill?
I want them to know that they CAN make a difference.Â They can write letters and make phone calls to their representatives letting them know that they are in support of the bill.Â They can educate their friends and loved ones about the importance of medical marijuana and the importance of passing this bill.
Educating people will help ensure that we elect individuals who represent the interest of the people and who are in favor of the bill.Â They can also seek out groups of like-minded people, especially on Facebook, and they can stay up to date with the latest information regarding the bill and find out ways they can join other supporters in helping the bill get passed. There IS hope, and they CAN make a difference!
Show your support for the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act by signing this petition. Like the Facebook page here.
Photo credit: Mollygalbraith.com