Medical marijuana legalization advances in Kentucky, dies in Kansas

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Kentucky is on track to legalize medical marijuana after a bill passed in the state Senate, but an MMJ measure in Kansas is essentially dead.

After reliably blocking MMJ bills in previous sessions, lawmakers in Kentucky’s upper house voted 26-11 on Thursday to approve Senate Bill 47, the Associated Press reported.

The measure would legalize medical cannabis for people suffering from a short list of familiar illnesses, including cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy and PTSD.

That bill now heads to the state House of Representatives, which has previously approved medical marijuana with strong majorities only to see progress halted in the Senate.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who last fall issued an executive order allowing Kentucky residents to legally possess MMJ legally purchased in other states, is expected to sign any bill the House passes into law.

Kentucky’s part-time legislative session ends this month, so the House would need to send a medical marijuana bill to his desk within the next two weeks.

One of the 13 remaining states with no workable MMJ access, Kentucky is nonetheless a key state for cannabis nationwide.

The state is a major center for hemp production, and companies there are major players in the CBD and delta-8 THC markets.

It’s also the home state of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose support is indispensable for federal reform.

Also on Thursday, Kansas lawmakers appeared to kill any chances for medical marijuana legalization this year when a key Senate committee tabled an MMJ bill, according to the Associated Press.

Like Kentucky, Kansas is a reliably conservative state represented by a Democratic governor.

Gov. Laura Kelly has said that she would sign an MMJ bill into law, but opposition from law enforcement appeared to sway key state Senate Republicans to block a proposal.

And, like Kentucky, an MMJ measure previously passed in the Kansas House before stalling out in the Senate.