Path in Question for Marijuana/ Sports Betting Bills

Two bills that polling shows a majority of Kentuckians favor are in question in the waning days of the Kentucky legislative session.

A bill allowing medical marijuana in Kentucky and sports betting are both stuck in the upper chamber, as the bill’s sponsors are seeking the votes they need to move them forward.

House Bill 136, the medical marijuana bill, which limits how it can be consumed, who can grow, process, test, sell, regulate, and prescribe is currently stuck in legislative purgatory known as the committee on committees. The legislation is in the possession of the state Senate, but the Senate leadership has yet to move the bill into a committee where it could be heard, voted on, and moved before the full body for their vote.

The legislation passed the full House for the second time in the state’s history this session, but statements from the Senate President do not leave advocates with a lot of hope for the future of the bill. Instead, lawmakers in the Senate assigned legislation from Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, which would establish the Kentucky Center for Cannabis Research to a committee on Monday.

A bill that is starting to seem like a bad bet is House Bill 606, which would legalize sports wagering in the commonwealth. The bill, which passed the House with a narrow 58-30 margin, has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

Both bills will come down to political will and the ability of the sponsors to play legislative hardball and move votes in the upper chamber.