Kentucky governor and House speaker express support for medical marijuana; will legislature act in 2016?
Last update: March 8, 2016
At long last, the stars may be aligning for Kentucky to take a serious look at allowing medical marijuana. Medical marijuana efforts got a big boost in 2015 when House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) announced that he would sponsor a medical marijuana bill for the 2015 session. Then, on Election Day, voters elected Matt Bevin as governor after medical marijuana became a campaign issue. Bevin acknowledged “there is unequivocal medical evidence” that medical marijuana is beneficial while his opponent was dismissive.
This year, legislators in both the House and Senate have introduced medical marijuana legislation. In the Senate, longtime reform champion Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) has introduced SB 263, with Sen. Reginald Meeks (D-Lexington) as co-sponsor. In the House, two new sponsors have stepped forward in support of medical marijuana legislation. Rep. Denver Butler (R-Louisville) and Rep. Diane St. Onge (R-Lakeside Park) are sponsoring HB 584. Both bills would protect qualifying patients from arrest and allow them to obtain marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries; in addition, SB 263 would allow patients to cultivate their own plants.
If you or a loved one suffer from a debilitating illness and could benefit from marijuana, or if you’re a medical professional, a law enforcement official, a clergy member, or a member of the legal community, please email [email protected] to see how you can be of special help in advocating for medical marijuana in Kentucky. Please include your address or nine-digit ZIP code.
Bill introduced to end marijuana prohibition in Kentucky
In 2016, Sen. Perry Clark introduced SB 13, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults in the Commonwealth and create a regulated and taxed system.
Please take a moment to email your elected officials and ask for their support!
Lawmakers pass, governor signs limited CBD bill
On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a proposal that is intended to allow patients to use cannabidiol (“CBD,” a non-psychoactive component of marijuana) if directed by a physician. The new law went into effect immediately with his signature, but it is extremely unlikely it will actually result in patients being able to access CBD. Despite concerns about access, and the fact that this legislation excludes the vast majority of medical marijuana patients, it is still a positive step forward.
For more information on this new law, please see our summary of SB 124.
ACLU study shows Kentucky’s harsh marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates
A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Kentucky are six times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Please write to your legislators and ask them to stop arresting people for possessing marijuana.