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Will Kentucky Legislators Finally Pass a Medical Marijuana Bill Next Year?


A lot of the focus when it comes to news about cannabis naturally goes to the states that have legalized adult-use and medical marijuana. But it’s important to remember that more than a dozen states in the U.S. still don’t have anything approaching a decent medical cannabis program.

One of those states is my home state of Kentucky. Progress toward medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State has been sporadic and painfully slow. Earlier this year, a bill made it out of a committee in the Kentucky House of Representatives, but went no further.

So, next year activists and advocates from all over the state will descend on Frankfort to do it all again. And with things progressing more each year, there is a lot to be optimistic about going into 2020. “Our odds are improving. Citizens are speaking about cannabis more & more which in turn is making our legislators feel more comfortable,” Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, told The Marijuana Times.

“We’re fortunate to have a tenacious fighter like Representative Jason Nemes in the House. He and Rep Diane St. Onge worked their caucus hard to gather 53 Co-sponsors & 65 yes votes during the 2019 session. That’s over half the representatives sponsoring the bill, and over 2/3rds that say they’ll vote yes. 

“Hopefully 2020 will give legislators the courage to move medical cannabis legislation forward in Kentucky.”

Next month Kentucky voters will go to the polls to decide who will be governor. Both current Governor Matt Bevin (R) and his Democratic challenger – Andy Beshear – have expressed support for medical cannabis, although Beshear has said it’s something he would like to see on a statewide ballot.

So what it all really comes down to is the Kentucky General Assembly. If you live in the state make sure you find and contact your legislator and make sure they know you support medical marijuana. Besides the Internet, there are also mail and phone options available for contacting your state reps.

Kentucky has emerged as a nationwide leader when it comes to industrial hemp, but there is still a long way to go for hemp’s medicinal cousin in the Bluegrass. And although hemp’s very powerful champion – Kentucky Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) – seems to be aware of broader cannabis issues, there is nothing to suggest he would intervene on behalf of medical marijuana patients in Kentucky and throw some clout around in the statehouse.

So it’s up to us, the people of Kentucky, to seize the momentum and get medical marijuana across the finish line in 2020.