Bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Ky. passes committee, heads to Senate

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky passed through a committee meeting Tuesday.

Senate Bill 47 would legalize medical marijuana use for Kentuckians with a handful of certain medical conditions, like PTSD or epilepsy. It also sets strict provisions for possession, like needing the proper identification card and the right dosage; outlines that smoking the product will be prohibited, meaning oils and edibles will likely be primary routes; and the rollout wouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2025.

“We have eight yeas, three nays and no passes. Senate Bill 47 as amended by Senate Committee substitute number one is passed with favorable expression.”

“We’ve worked extensively with [Fraternal Order of Police] to make sure everything is clear to a police officer as to what is medical cannabis and what is illegal cannabis. Smoking is not allowed in this bill,” said Sen. Stephen West (R-Paris).

Those in support gave testimony on why lawmakers should pass the bill, sharing stories of strength and pain.

“Medical cannabis relaxes my continuous, uncontrollable violent muscle spasms. Medical cannabis really is my constant. Never-ending pain. Cannabis helps me. I’ve been crippled for almost 30 years. I know what is best for me. I don’t want to be high. I just want to feel better,” said Eric Crawford.

But those who oppose the bill say there needs to be more research that explains the benefits of medical marijuana.

“There is insufficient scientific evidence that marijuana is an effective pain relieving agent, or that it is safe and effective as a medication. That is why the Family Foundation has acknowledged the need for additional research into the potential medicinal properties of marijuana and has advocated for the FDA to ensure timely research,” said Michael Johnson, a senior policy advisor at the Family Foundation.

The bill now heads to the full Senate.

This was the first time in Kentucky a Senate committee heard a bill on legalizing medical marijuana.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has repeatedly voiced support for medical marijuana legalization, even implementing an executive order this year that allows Kentucky patients to possess it as long as it’s legally purchased from another state and brought over.

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