Kentucky Senate Passes Medical Pot Legalization Invoice


The Kentucky Senate on Thursday handed a invoice to legalize medical marijuana after years of labor by lawmakers and activists. The Senate accredited the measure, Senate Invoice 47, by a bipartisan vote of 26-11. The laws will now head to the state Home of Representatives, the place comparable payments to legalize medical marijuana have been handed twice lately.

Republican Senator Stephen West, a lead sponsor of the invoice who has labored to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky for 5 years, stated that the laws will give sufferers with critical medical circumstances new choices in remedy.

“It’s time for Kentucky to affix the opposite 37 states that permit medical marijuana as an possibility for his or her residents,” West said, including that those that use hashish medicinally ought to give you the option to take action “with out being thought-about a felony.”

If handed, Senate Invoice 47 would allow sufferers aged 18 and up with sure qualifying medical circumstances together with most cancers, power ache, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress dysfunction to acquire a health care provider’s suggestion to make use of medical marijuana. The brand new Kentucky Middle for Hashish on the College of Kentucky, which opened in September of final yr, can add further qualifying circumstances if it determines by means of knowledge and analysis that sufferers with the situation are “more likely to obtain medical, therapeutic, or palliative advantages from using medicinal hashish.”

The invoice doesn’t permit sufferers to smoke hashish, though it does permit for the sale of uncooked hashish flower for vaporization. Different hashish formulations together with capsules, tinctures and topical merchandise are additionally approved by the invoice. 

Invoice Incorporates Medical Hashish Regulation Provisions

SB 47 duties the Kentucky Cupboard for Well being and Household Providers with drafting and implementing laws to enact the laws and regulate the manufacturing and sale of medical marijuana within the state. The laws doesn’t embody provisions permitting sufferers to domesticate medical marijuana at house. 

Senate Majority Ground Chief Damon Thayer was one in every of eight senators on the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee who voted in favor of advancing Senate Invoice 47 on March 14. Beforehand a staunch opponent of legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky, Thayer just lately prompt that his views on the problem are evolving after listening to testimonials from constituents. He advised his colleagues on the committee that he voted “for the sake of those that undergo.”

“It’s not fairly often I modify my thoughts,” Thayer said after the committee voted to advance the invoice. “I did on industrial hemp and I did right now on medical marijuana. I’m simply attempting to be a little bit extra empathetic in my previous age.”

Senate Invoice 47 now heads to the Kentucky Home of Representatives, the place lawmakers have accredited earlier measures to legalize medical marijuana twice since 2020. If handed by the complete legislature, the invoice can be despatched to Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, who has repeatedly referred to as on the state legislature to go medical marijuana laws.

In June 2022, the governor introduced that he was establishing a medical cannabis advisory committee to discover making a path to legalization. In November, Beshear issued an government order that decriminalized medical marijuana for sufferers with specified qualifying circumstances. And in January, he repeated his call for state lawmakers to ship him a medical marijuana legalization invoice in 2023.

Eric Crawford, an activist who has labored to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky for a decade, shared his shock after Thursday’s vote by the Senate.

“I’m shocked,” stated Crawford. “Now it’s time for the Home.”

Underneath the invoice, Kentucky’s medical hashish program would launch by January 2025. Crawford, who was paralyzed in a automobile accident 30 years in the past, says that hashish is the one medication that successfully treats the ache and muscle spasms he endures because of the catastrophic damage. Though he has almost two years earlier than Senate Invoice 47 goes into impact, Crawford stated that he understands the delay.

“I figured it was gonna take that lengthy to arrange the system that we didn’t have,” Crawford stated. “Yeah, it’s an extended onerous wait, however I’m doing what I gotta do.”

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