UPDATE: Beshear ready to explore action on medical marijuana issue

Governor looking into whether he can take executive action to legalize medical marijuana if bill dies in the legislature

UPDATED STORY POSTED APRIL 7, 2022 AT 11:00 P.M.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – If state lawmakers don’t pass House Bill 136, which would legalize medical marijuana, Governor Beshear says he’ll look into whether he could use his executive authority to make it available. The comment was made during a press conference Thursday, and has area hemp businesses hopeful.

“It is long overdue. Cannabis has, for so long been thought of as negative. And cannabis is not a negative thing. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company CEO William Sutterfield.

Sutterfield is the founder of the Eastern Kentucky Hemp Company, which researches the use of the hemp plant and develops hemp products. He says the legalization of medicinal weed would open up endless possibilities, especially economically, in Kentucky.

“Medical marijuana in Kentucky, oh my gosh. It seriously has the potential to be one of the biggest most explosive economic booms, if done correctly, that the state has ever seen,” said Sutterfield.

Rich Bryant, owner of Kentucky Medicine Farm in London, says the sale of his hemp and CBD products have dropped by over 80 percent from two and a half years ago, when he converted his tomato farm to a hemp farm. He’s hopeful that if medical weed could be legalized, it could help farmers who want to continue to just grow hemp.

“I believe it could help if the same logic used with medical marijuana would be grafted into the CBD industry. That would still allow people like me to not necessarily have a medical marijuana license, but still be able to deliver a quality medicinal product to people,” said Bryant.

House Bill 136, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes (R), would legalize only the medical use of marijuana. Some lawmakers in the state Senate are still skeptical of its medicinal effectiveness.

Governor Beshear responded to the skepticism Thursday by saying that it’s time for the legislature to legalize medical marijuana.

“It’s something that we will look at. Its time has certainly done. If it’s research that is holding it up, then maybe this administration can get that done,” said Gov. Beshear.

The bill has passed the state House but is stalled in the Senate.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED APRIL 7, 2022 AT 4:17 P.M.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Gov. Andy Beshear signaled Thursday that he’s ready to consider taking executive action to make medical marijuana available for ailing Kentuckians if a legalization bill dies in the legislature.

The Democratic governor’s comments reflected his growing frustration as the latest measure to legalize medical cannabis is currently stalled in the Republican-dominated state Senate.

Asked if he could wield his executive authority to make medical marijuana accessible, the governor told reporters: “We’re going to explore that.”

“It’s something that we will look at,” he said. “Its time has certainly come.”

But the governor called on lawmakers to send him a bill allowing medical marijuana. The high-profile measure cleared the House last month but has made no headway in the Senate.

Beshear said the measure has overwhelming support among Kentuckians.

“You see people from every part of every spectrum that are in favor of this,” Beshear said.

Senate President Robert Stivers said Thursday that “it would be difficult” to pass the medical marijuana bill once lawmakers reconvene next week for the final two days of this year’s session.

Instead, Stivers touted another bill that would create a cannabis research center at the University of Kentucky to study the use of cannabis to treat certain medical conditions.

 

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