The Kentucky Senate on Thursday passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana after years of efforts by lawmakers and activists. The bill has now gone to the state House of Representatives, and he has passed similar bills to legalize medical marijuana twice in the last few years.
Republican Sen. Stephen West, the lead sponsor of a bill that has been working to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky for five years, said the bill would give patients with serious medical conditions new treatment options. .
“It’s time for Kentucky to join the other 37 states in allowing medical marijuana as a citizen’s choice.” said the westIt adds that those who use cannabis for medical purposes should be able to do so “without being considered criminals.”
If Senate Bill 47 is passed, patients aged 18 and over with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder, will be able to receive a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana use. will be The University of Kentucky’s new Kentucky Cannabis Center, which opened last September, is additional eligible if it determines through data and research that patients with the condition are “likely to benefit from medical care, treatment, or palliative care.” You can add conditions. Use of medical cannabis. ”
The bill does not allow patients to smoke cannabis, but does allow the sale of raw cannabis flowers for vaporization. Other cannabis preparations, including capsules, tinctures and topical products, are also authorized by the bill.
Bill includes medical cannabis regulation clause
SB 47 directs the Kentucky Health and Family Services Cabinet to enact legislation and draft and implement regulations to regulate the production and sale of medical marijuana in the state. The law does not include provisions to allow patients to grow medical marijuana at home.
Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer was one of eight senators on the Senate Licensing and Careers Committee who voted in favor of advancing Senate Bill 47 on March 14. The issue is evolving after hearing testimony from voters. He told colleagues on the committee that he voted “for those who are suffering.”
“I rarely change my mind” sayer he said After the committee voted to move the bill forward. “I did with industrial hemp and today with medical marijuana. I’m just trying to be a little more empathetic in my old age.”
Senate Bill 47 is now going to the Kentucky House of Representatives, where legislators have twice approved previous steps to legalize medical marijuana since 2020. If it passes a full legislature, the bill will go to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. Pass a medical marijuana law in the state legislature.
In June 2022, the governor announced the formation of a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to explore a path to legalization. In November, Beshear issued an executive order decriminalizing medical marijuana for patients with certain eligibility requirements. And in January, he called on state legislators to pass a bill to legalize medical marijuana in 2023.
Eric Crawford, an activist who has spent a decade working to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky, shared his surprise after Thursday’s Senate vote.
“I was shocked,” said Crawford. “Now it’s time for the House of Commons.”
The bill would have Kentucky’s medical cannabis program open by January 2025. Crawford, who was paralyzed in a car accident 30 years ago, says cannabis is the only drug that effectively treats the pain and muscle spasms he endures as a result of the catastrophe. injury. Although he has nearly two years until Senate Bill 47 takes effect, Crawford said he understands the delay.
“We thought it would take that long to set up a system that we didn’t have,” says Crawford. “Yeah, it’s hard to wait, but I’m doing my job.”