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The Kentucky Senate Votes To Make Medical Marijuana Legal, And It Looks Like This Will Become Law

The Kentucky Senate Votes To Make Medical Marijuana Legal, And It Looks Like This Will Become Law

Eric Crawford of Maysville worked hard for many years to get medical marijuana legalized in Kentucky. He was shocked Thursday evening when the Senate voted to do so by a wide margin, making it clear that it will become law in two weeks.

“I’m shocked,” said Crawford, who has been the most vocal supporter of medical marijuana in Frankfort for the last ten years. “Now it’s the House’s turn.”

Senate Bill 47, which would legalize and regulate medical marijuana in Kentucky, was passed by a bipartisan vote of 26-11. This was the first time that the bill had been brought up for a vote on the floor of the Senate.

Sen. Steven West, R-Paris, who is the main sponsor of SB 47, said on the floor that his five-year journey to push for medical cannabis began when he met his constituent Crawford, who has been paralyzed since a car accident 30 years ago and says that marijuana is the only safe and effective way to treat his severe pain and muscle spasms.

The Kentucky Senate Votes To Make Medical Marijuana Legal, And It Looks Like This Will Become Law

ALSO READ: Kentucky Senate Passes Historic Medical Marijuana Bill for the First Time

“It’s time for Kentucky to join the other 37 states that allow medical marijuana,” West said, adding that people who need medical relief from the drug should be able to get it “without being thought of as a criminal.”

The bill will now go to the House, where similar bills have passed with big majorities in two of the last three years. If the bill’s first reading in the House happens before midnight on Thursday, it could be passed into law on March 30, the last day of the 2023 session, after lawmakers return from the governor’s veto period.

If the House passes the bill and Gov. Andy Beshear, who is a strong supporter of medical marijuana, signs it into law, Kentucky’s medical marijuana program would not start until the beginning of 2025.

Crawford said, “I figured it would take that long to set up the system we didn’t have.” “Yes, it’s a long, hard wait, but I’m doing what I have to do.”

Under SB 47, a Person Would Be Able to Get a Medical Marijuana Card Through the State’s Program if They Had at Least One of The Following

  • Any kind or stage of cancer Chronic, severe, uncontrollable, or crippling pain.
  • Epilepsy or any other seizure disorder that is hard to treat.
  • Multiple sclerosis, muscle cramps, or spasticity.
  • Chronic sickness that hasn’t gotten better with other medical treatments.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

A patient could also be eligible if they have a medical condition or disease that the newly opened Kentucky Center for Cannabis at the University of Kentucky says is “likely to receive medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefits from the use of medicinal cannabis.”

ALSO READ: Local Authorities Warn of Illegal Marijuana Activities After Search Warrant Service!

The Kentucky Senate Votes To Make Medical Marijuana Legal, And It Looks Like This Will Become Law

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services would be in charge of putting the program into action, running it, keeping an eye on it, and making sure that growers, dispensaries, and producers follow the rules. Cardholders would have to be at least 18 years old, and smoking cannabis products would be against the rules of the program.

In the past few years, medical marijuana bills were stopped in the Senate because the socially conservative caucus of the Senate GOP didn’t support them. On Thursday, 19 Republicans voted for the bill, while 11 Republicans voted against it. All seven Democrats in the chamber supported the bill and signed on as co-sponsors for SB 47.

In his floor speech, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said that he has been one of Frankfort’s most vocal opponents of medical marijuana for a long time and that he is “not the kind of guy who changes his mind.” But he said he did just that when he talked about why he voted for SB 47. He was moved by hearing how the drug helped his constituents and even his own family.

He said that his 93-year-old grandmother’s solution for her crippling back pain is “a shot of bourbon before bed and some marijuana cream on her knees.”


Mohit Sharma

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