A bill that would allow medical cannabis for Kentucky residents with serious health conditions has stalled in the Senate after passing a House vote in March. The Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer says that the Senate will adjourn without bringing the bill to a vote.
Governor Andy Beshear says that he’s considering executive action to make medical cannabis legal in Kentucky.
Medical Cannabis Has Broad Support in Kentucky
A poll from two years ago shows that about 90% of Kentuckians support medicinal marijuana. Currently, the state has a divided government that struggles to accomplish tasks. Both chambers of the General Assembly have Republican supermajorities, making it difficult for the Democratic governor to meet goals.
The governor and Republican legislators have clashed since Republican governor Matt Bevin lost his reelection bid in 2019.
KY Senate Uninterested in Passing Medical Cannabis Law
Kentucky’s Senate Majority Leader says that the bill lacks enough support to spend time on a vote. Advocates for medicinal marijuana, however, want the bill brought to the Senate floor so constituents can see how their senators vote.
As currently written, Kentucky’s law would only allow people with specific medical conditions to buy and possess cannabis. Those conditions include chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
Kentucky has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Many cannabis advocates say that legalizing the plant would help lower the amount of opioid abuse throughout the state.
It’s unclear whether the governor has the authority to pass medical cannabis, but it could be the only way forward until the next legislative session.