Kentucky lawmakers announce details on medical marijuana bill

Published: Jan. 9, 2019 at 11:44 AM EST
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Kentucky lawmakers have released new details on a medical marijuana legalization bill which will be filed in the 2019 Regular Session.

Rep. Diane St. Onge, R - Ft. Wright, and Rep. Jason Nemes, R- Louisville, are backing the plan which looks to help Kentuckians who have "debilitating illnesses and excruciating pain."

House Bill 136 will look to make medical marijuana available for up to 60,000 Kentuckians. Lawmakers will file the bill Wednesday.

"This bill is designed to help Kentuckians in pain when their doctors say medical marijuana will help them," Rep. Nemes said. "It is time to allow doctors to have this option for patients."

Medial marijuana would be regulated by the Department of Public Protection's Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The state-run system will issue licenses for cultivators, dispensaries, safety facilities, processors along with practitioners and patients.

Requirements include a yearly licensing fee and limits on possession.

The bill sponsors say the intention is strictly to give patients additional treatment options.

"The intention of this legislation is not the generate tax revenue, but rather to provide relief to the thousands of Kentuckian who suffer from conditions that have not responded to traditional medicine," Rep. St. Onge said.

The Republican-led bill has an uncertain future. House Speaker David Osborne, R - Prospect, didn't say if it had enough support in the legislature.

"I'm not going to go as far as to say there is adequate support in the House, but there is certainly significant discussion," Osborne said. "I'm not ready to predict where that might lead at this point."

Bill sponsors also say some law enforcement officers have expressed concerns, but others have announced their support. The bill may also have some resistance in the Senate, as some leadership has spoken against medical marijuana in the past.