With a 59 – 34 vote a bill allowing the sale and use of medical marijuana in Kentucky for six qualifying conditions has passed the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Thursday’s vote marks the second time Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, has passed a medical marijuana bill through the state House.
House Bill 136 limits the forms of the plant, how it could be consumed, who can grow, process, test, sell, and regulate it. HB 136 is aimed at swaying conservatives in the legislature by not allowing the plant to be smoked, and not allowing Kentuckians to grow marijuana for personal use. The bill would allow vaping of medical marijuana, but only for those over the age of 21-years old.
The legislation also defines qualifying conditions as diagnosed by a physician as any type of cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chronic nausea proven resistant to conventional medical treatments. An amendment to the bill also added post traumatic stress disorder to the list of approved medical conditions.
Nemes, R-Louisville, pushed a version of the medical marijuana bill through the full House of Representatives two years ago, but that legislation was never heard in the Senate. As Kentucky Fried Politics first reported, state Senate Judiciary Chair Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, has moved to support the bill in the upper chamber despite years of reservations.
“I do not support recreational cannabis, that’s not what this bill is,” Nemes said. The idea that medical marijuana, which is currently legal in 37 states, would lead Kentucky towards recreational marijuana. The fear of recreational marijuana is one that Nemes will have to overcome in the upper chamber to get to a vote in the 2022 session, which is coming to a close.
Nemes expects there will be an “amendment or two” added to the bill in the state Senate.