General Assembly sends medical marijuana bill to Beshear’s desk

General Assembly sends medical marijuana bill to Beshear’s desk
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:04 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - After several years, and a strong push from lawmakers, patients, and advocates, medical marijuana has passed in Kentucky.

Senate Bill 47 is headed to Governor Andy Beshear’s desk, who has spoken out as a supporter of the bill.

Supporters told us they were hopeful and optimistic ahead of Thursday’s vote, saying the biggest hurdle was when the bill passed in the Senate.

“This has been a long time coming. Obviously, a long history with the bill,” said Sen. Steven West, R-Paris.

For years, Eric Crawford has been advocating for Kentucky to join the growing list of states that have legalized medicinal marijuana.

We’ve watched as the legislation would pass the House, but would never be heard in the Senate. This session, Senator West, who represents where Crawford lives, filed the bill. This meant the biggest hurdle was first.

“Being disabled, and being sick, you rely on people to help you. Hopefully, you’re blessed enough to have those people help you. It’s unfortunate that you may have to rely on drugs. It’s not a party, it’s not fun having to rely on drugs. It makes you feel weak,” said Crawford. “To find something that works for you, and then they tell you you’re a criminal for using it. That’s not cutting it.”

Representative Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, has worked on this bill and was the sponsor on past legislation. He acknowledged concerns that this is a wink or nudge to recreational use, but assures this bill is designed to the opposite.

“This is not a wink-wink, nod-nod medical program. This is a medical program,” Nemes said. “I am against recreational, if you smoke this, you’re violating the law.”

The bill does not allow smoking marijuana. It’s just in edible, topical, or vapor form.

Nemes said if someone violates this, they would lose their medical card, and face jail time.

In November, Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order allowing patients with certain conditions to possess the drug.

This law does not go into effect until 2025, and adjustments are expected to be made in the next session.