Kentucky could become the next state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Although there was some concern that the Kentucky Legislature would not hear any marijuana-related bills in the 2017 session, Senator Perry Clark recently introduced legislation (Cannabis Compassion Act of 2017) that would give patients with a variety of “debilitating” health conditions access to cannabis medicine.
According to the proposal, patients with a “terminal illness, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia, cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, substance use disorder, mood disorder, Alzheimer's disease, lupus, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes, sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, autism, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” would have the freedom to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and cultivate 12 plants for personal use.
In addition, people with a number of chronic conditions, such as pain and nausea, would also qualify for participation.
Not unlike similar measures passed in 28 other states, the bill would give way to the creation of a statewide medical marijuana industry, making a variety of cannabis products available in dispensaries all over the state. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control would oversee the industry.
Kentucky’s latest medical marijuana bill is similar to a proposal Clark submitted at the beginning of 2016, calling for marijuana prohibition to be eliminated in the Bluegrass State. The only major deviation is that Clark’s Cannabis Compassion Act requires adults 21 and older to have a recommendation from a doctor or specialist before gaining clearance for the program.
Over the summer, a number of meetings took place among the state’s legislative powers intended to “vet” the issue of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.
Even Republican Governor Matt Bevin has said that he would support a comprehensive medical marijuana program that allows the herb to “be prescribed like any other prescription drug.”
Yet there is sure to be a major debate on the issue next year, considering that some lawmakers will reportedly push for a more restrictive program that only allows access for the terminally ill, a condition that is included in Clark’s latest bill.
All of the fun gets started next month when the Kentucky Legislature reconvenes after the holiday break.