Will Kentucky Legalize Medical Marijuana In 2020?

While this issue has enough support to suggest that the land of Bluegrass is well on its way to becoming the 34th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana, the battle is not over.  ​

After years of failed attempts, Kentucky is closer than ever to legalizing medical marijuana. 

The state’s House of Representatives recently approved a bill (House Bill 136) in a vote of 65-to-30 that is designed to give patients with a variety of health conditions access to cannabis products.  


Kentucky House Votes to Legalize Marijuana

Kentucky’s House of Representatives has approved legislation to legalize medical marijuana. The vote on House Bill 136 was 65 to 0: It will now be sent to the Senate, where passage will send it to the governor for consideration. Kentucky is one of just 17 states where marijuana isn’t legal in some fashion.


Will the House Vote on Medical Marijuana in Kentucky?

As some of you know, I was born and raised in Kentucky. I’ve never lived in another state. And it’s not that there is anything particularly special about my part of Kentucky. Cincinnati is close and the weather sucks; I’m still here because I’ve never had a need or reason to move.


Overwhelming Support For Medical Marijuana In Kentucky

While the U.S. state of Kentucky may be all-in on hemp, medical marijuana is another story. But there’s certainly plenty of call for it.

Medical marijuana is yet to be legalised in the state, although this hasn’t been through a lack of trying. However, cannabidiol derived from industrial hemp (cannabis with not more than 0.3% THC)  is legal assuming it meets the conditions under KRS 218A.010, which state:

“when transferred, dispensed, or administered pursuant to the written order of a physician practicing at a hospital or associated clinic affiliated with a Kentucky public university having a college or school of medicine.”


Most Kentuckians Now Support Marijuana Legalization

In recent years, the landscape of support for marijuana legalization has dramatically changed. However, Kentucky is one of those more conservative states where the plant remains illegal, even for medicinal purposes. But, according to the recent 2019 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP), in the last decade the state is seeing growing support in favor of legalization. For the first time, more than half of Kentuckians who were polled said they support any use of marijuana; almost everyone who participated in the survey said they supported the medicinal use of cannabis, and just under half supported recreational use. 


Kentucky, A National Leader in Hemp, Still Faces Struggles

The legalization of cannabis has been unique, to say the least. There are few examples in history of a very popular product entering the legal market in such a relatively rapid fashion. Almost every other commodity in existence has started among a small group of people (either those “in the know”, or the very wealthy, or both). Radios, TVs, cell phones, cars; the list goes on.

Cannabis, however, is an established commodity with a huge customer base. So instead of a slow rollout or build-up, every geographical area where cannabis has been legalized already had a huge demand for the product in place. The repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933 is really the only other comparable instance to this in the last century.


Kentucky will continue hemp program as pilot for a year

Kentucky's Department of Agriculture will continue operating its hemp program as a research pilot program for another year before transitioning to a commercial program, the agency said.

Congress gave state agriculture departments the option to continue pilot programs before submitting plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said Tuesday in a news release.

“After much discussion with industry stakeholders in Kentucky, I determined our state will operate our current hemp program for another year as we responsibly make plans to take Kentucky’s hemp industry into the next phase in 2021 and beyond,” Quarles said.


Red State Recreational Marijuana: It's Now A Possibility In Kentucky

In an era of political polarization, the legalization of recreational marijuana has fallen for the most part along blue state-red state lines. That is, blue states do it and red states don’t. But that could potentially change with Kentucky.

A Kentucky lawmaker has filed legislation that would create a legal recreational cannabis system in the state. A driving force behind the proposal is to use taxes generated from cannabis sales to fund the retirement system for state employees, as well as the state teachers’ retirement fund.


USDA Approves First State Hemp Plans

Three state hemp plans have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture so far – and what’s surprising is the state that isn’t among them.

State and tribal hemp production plans that are pending approval or have been approved can be found here. Last updated on December 27, the states to get a green light at this point are Louisiana, New Jersey and Ohio.

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain welcomed the approval.


Proposed legislation would legalize recreational marijuana in Kentucky

A Kentucky legislator has pre-filed a bill that would legalize marijuana and use some of the tax and licensing proceeds to bolster public pensions.

Rep. Cluster Howard's legislation would govern the home use and commercial sales of the drug, according to a news release from the House Democratic Caucus.

His bill would also decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of cannabis and provide free expungements for those convicted of a marijuana-related misdemeanor.


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