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Kentucky House Passes 'Tightest Medical Marijuana Bill In The Country'; Now It's Up To The Senate

Kentucky House Passes 'Tightest Medical Marijuana Bill In The Country'; Now It's Up To The Senate

Kentucky has a chance of becoming the 34th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana.

Te Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that legalizes medical marijuana in the state, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. 

After a two-hour-long debate, House Bill 136 passed 65-30.

Now, the bill goes to the state Senate for consideration. 

The bill would enable physicians to prescribe cannabis for conditions yet to be established by a panel of 13 people, the majority of whom are doctors, the Herald-Leader reported.

Conditions that were already passed on the House floor include epilepsy, chronic pain, nausea or vomiting and multiple sclerosis.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester shared concerns regarding medicinal marijuana legalization and said he would like to see more research about it, the newspaper said.

“It’s a balancing test of 'do the goods outweigh the bads?' And we just haven’t had anything done on that.”

Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, the bill’s sponsor, said it proposes strict regulations.  

“House Bill 136, if it is passed, would be the tightest medical marijuana bill in the country,” Nemes said to lawmakers when he presented the bill.

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Cornbread Hemp Co-Founder Says Bill Moves Kentucky Into 21st Century

Jim Higdon, co-founder of Kentucky-based Cornbread Hemp and author of the book "The Cornbread Mafia," said it's important to look at the history of the legislation. 

“The Kentucky House vote today to legalize medical marijuana is a historic moment," he said.

"In 2013, when Kentucky legalized hemp, the bill began in the Senate, passed there 31-6, and then went to the House, where it passed 88-4. Last year, a medical marijuana bill received 53 co-sponsors, but was denied a full floor vote. For a year, there has been speculation what a vote would be, and now we know it’s 63-30 — a clear two-thirds majority."

Higdon said "the real heroes" in the state are Jaime Montalvo, Eric and Michelle Crawford and the entire Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana team.

"Without them walking the halls of the Capitol to educate legislators and dare them to act, today’s vote would never have happened."

The vote taken this week was a bipartisan one to move Kentucky into the 21st century, Higdon said, adding that "like anything that gets done in Frankfort, it's not perfect."

It's a "no smoking" bill, Higdon said. Flower would still be sold, he said, but in packaging that says "not for smoking," which he described as "frustrating."

"But raw flower vaping will still be allowed, as I understand it, so it’s not terrible. This is a real thing that’s happening. The companion bill in the Senate has 11 co-sponsors in a chamber of 38 senators. With this strong vote in the House today, passage in the Senate seems likely. The governor will sign it."


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