Ky. Governor Beshear pushing for Medical Marijuana in upcoming legislative session
FRANKFORT - Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Monday in an interview with Local 12 he is committed to pushing for the permanent legalization of medical marijuana in the upcoming legislative session.
In November, Gov. Beshear signed an executive order allowing medical marijuana for extreme cases. But the first-term Democrat says he wants to extend that with new laws, making it permanent.
“Listen, I am proud of what we have done in the executive order, but that is admittedly imperfect,” he said at the Kentucky State Capitol. “It is time that our legislature steps up, and that we join all our surrounding states or almost all of them. I've been attorney general in the past, I think we can do this right, I think we can do it well."
Gov. Beshear argued the move will help the state's opioid crisis by converting people needing pain pills for long-term chronic conditions to marijuana. He says it would also help veterans with PTSD, as well as children with epilepsy and other conditions.
He also says it would not be a stepping stone to legalizing recreational use.
“There are a lot of states that have only done medicinal and not done recreational, so there's a body of evidence out there that one doesn't lead to the other, but to those who really need relief, we can do this right."
Such a bill is being proposed in the State Senate for the upcoming session. A similar measure passed the House earlier in the year, but never made it to the Senate floor -- the same fate it met in 2020 under the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
"There are some road blocks in the General Assembly from people who think they know better than 80-plus percent of the people in Kentucky, but we are a Democratic form of government and when 80-plus percent of people want something, you do it. That's our job," said Gov. Beshear.
Gov. Beshear says another top priority of his was to create a statewide pre-kindergarten teaching system for all children, which he says will improve education as well as helping working parents with childcare.
And he wants to tackle the state’s teacher shortage by raising all teacher pay statewide by five percent. All told, he wants to use $400 million of the state’s current $1.2 billion revenue surplus for these programs, as well as others.
Gov. Beshear tackled another controversial subject, sports gambling. Local 12 will report what he had to say about that on Tuesday.