Kentucky House passes medical marijuana bill; Senate vote is next

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a restrictive medical marijuana bill by a vote of 59-34.

The measure, approved Thursday, now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, where passage is less certain.

Kentucky House Bill 136 would legalize medical marijuana statewide, but county courts or commissions could decide to prohibit MMJ businesses, the Associated Press reported.

However, municipalities in those counties would have the option to allow medical marijuana operations.

According to the 141-page bill, the measure sets up several types of licenses: four cultivation tiers, processor, producer, dispensary and safety compliance facility.

Medical cannabis could be recommended for conditions that include chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic nausea.

The House passed the bill after lengthy debate.

As in other especially conservative states, opponents expressed concerns about MMJ legalization opening the door to recreational marijuana, the AP reported.

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But Republican Rep. Jason Nemes, the bill’s lead sponsor, stressed that the MMJ bill was made restrictive to gain support and that he personally is against recreational marijuana.

In 2020, the Kentucky House passed a similar medical cannabis bill by a vote of 65-30, but the Senate adjourned without voting on the measure.