Kentucky Senate to take up bill on medicinal cannabis for first time
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A bill that has been more than a decade in the making will receive its first Senate hearing Tuesday morning.
In 2020 and 2022, bills legalizing medical marijuana passed the House only to die in the Senate.
This session, Senate Bill 47 was filed by Paris Senator Stephen West, R-Paris, and would create a medicinal cannabis program.
Advocates are hopeful it will clear the committee.
“This is an opportunity for the Senate to really take control and own this issue,” said Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, Kentucky NORML.
Kentucky is in the minority of states that don’t allow for the use of medical marijuana.
“Other than us just catching up with everybody else, we’re pretty far behind,” said Bratcher said. “There are a lot of patients in this state that could get some relief from this.”
Bratcher’s organization, NORML, has been advocating for medical marijuana in Frankfort for years. Now, they’re heading back Tuesday.
“We’re hoping we can testify in front of the committee if we get the opportunity to,” said Bratcher.
Senator west told the Courier-Journal he is ‘fairly confident’ the bill will clear committee on Tuesday, adding that it will have some ‘significant changes’ to the current version.
Along with West, 13 senators are cosponsoring the legislation. That’s about a third of the whole chamber.
“They’ve worked really hard the last 10 years. I don’t think it’s just been hard ‘nos.’ They’ve been wondering how to get around it. They want to get it right,” said Bratcher.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, told the Herald-Leader that if the bill has the votes to pass, he won’t stop it.
Lawmakers will meet through Thursday, then adjourn for a veto session before coming back on March 29. The session ends March 30.
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