Kentucky Legislature OKs legalization of medical marijuana on final day of session

Tribune Content Agency

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky legislature gave final passage to a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state on Thursday.

In a 66-33 vote, the House sent the bill to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk.

Republican lawmakers expressed concerns this bill would expose children to marijuana and set Kentucky down a path toward recreational use.

Beshear has been a vocal advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana since early in his term.

The bill, which would legalize the substance with several restrictions, was sponsored by GOP Sen. Stephen West.

Earlier this year, Beshear signed an executive order to allow Kentuckians to use medical marijuana that was legally purchased in other states. If Beshear signs Senate Bill 47, Kentucky will join more than half of all states in legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.

Chief among the restrictions in Senate Bill 47 is that users are not allowed to smoke the substance. Further, it would not be accessible until 2025.

The bill, as amended in a committee substitute, lists off “qualifying medical conditions” that would make Kentuckians eligible to use medical marijuana. Those include:

—Any type of cancer

—Chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain

—Epilepsy or any other seizure disorder

—Multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity

—Chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome

—Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)