Kentucky Lawmakers Send Medical Cannabis Legalization Bill to Governor

Following a 66-33 vote in the Kentucky House on Thursday evening, a medical cannabis bill is on its way to the desk of Gov. Andy Beshear, who is expected to sign it. 

A path was cleared for the bill, SB 47, when the Senate unexpectedly passed it two weeks ago. The House reconvened on Wednesday, and today is the deadline to pass any remaining bills.

Days before the Senate passed the bill, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, the tone around the bill shifted a bit. Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, who previously opposed medical cannabis, praised the bill’s “narrowly focused approach” and backed it.

Beshear has for years pushed lawmakers to send him a medical cannabis bill. Last year, he formed the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee that traveled across the state to hear how Kentuckians felt about medical cannabis. The Committee found overwhelming support, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time.

In November, Besehar signed an executive order to allow Kentucky residents with certain conditions, including PTSD or a terminal diagnosis, to “possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions.meet specific requirements will be able to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions.” 

However, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, this still didn’t create a legal, in-state supply. 

If signed into law, SB 47 will create a full medical cannabis program. Licenses would be made available for cultivation, processing, and retail, for example. While the bill explicitly states that medical cannabis cannot be smoked, only vaporized, cannabis flowers can still be sold so long as the package reads that the product is “not intended for consumption by smoking.”

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