Medical Marijuana bill passes in Kentucky, governor expected to sign

Medical Marijuana bill passes in Kentucky, governor expected to sign

FRANKFORT - Medical marijuana passed through the House 66-33 Thursday, giving it final passage. It now heads to the governor's desk, who is an avid supporter, and has said he will sign it into law on Friday.

Senate Bill 47, medical marijuana, made its greatest strides this year, passing the Senate for the first time ever, 26-11.

On Thursday, the House L&O committee passed it 18-2. It then went to the House for final passage.

"This is a truly historic day here in the commonwealth and one that many people deserve, especially the constituents who’ve approached me over the years to share their stories," Sen. Steve West, R-Paris, said in a news release.

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The bill makes medical marijuana legal, but the qualifying conditions required are not expansive, and it would be strictly regulated. It will prohibit smokable cannabis.

Some of the qualifying conditions include:

  • Any type or form of cancer, regardless of the stage.
  • Chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain.
  • Epilepsy or any other intractable seizure disorder.
  • Multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity.
  • Chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome that has proven resistant to other conventional medical treatments.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

Any of the qualifying conditions would have to be diagnosed by a doctor for the patient to receive a certification to possess. For those under 18, they would need assistance from a designated caregiver.

Also, the bill allows for the Kentucky Center for Cannabis Research to add medical conditions and diseases to the list.

Even still, it'll be years before it can be used. Medical marijuana won't be available until Jan. 1, 2025 under the bill.

Several opponents spoke in the House ahead of the vote saying it's a complicated bill that needs more work.

One of those was Rep. Shane Baker, R-Somerset, who tried to pass a floor amendment to parts of the bill, which would have included removing all stages of cancer, PTSD and muscle spasms from the list of qualifying conditions.

“We all agree urban and rural, wherever you are across the Commonwealth, we have a drug issue, and this will adversely affect the people of our communities, including our young people,” Baker said.

The bill does more than just make medical marijuana legal in the Commonwealth.

SB 47 also includes:

  • The standards for setting up a dispensary.
  • The process for applying for a business license.
  • Obtaining the product for distribution.
  • Taxation levied on producers and dispensaries.
  • The requirement that all medical marijuana sold in the Commonwealth must be grown in Kentucky.

The Cabinet of Health and Family Services will regulate the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana in the state.

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Region: Kentucky

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