House passes medical cannabis bill in 65-30 vote; new governor is a supporter 

 

Last update: March 6, 2020

 

After years of frustration for patients and advocates in Kentucky, 2020 is off to a much better start. On February 20, the House of Representatives voted 65-30 to pass a medical cannabis bill, HB 136. This was the first time the full House ever voted on the issue. The bill now rests in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the chairman, Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville), says he hasn’t decided if he will hold a hearing on the bill.

If you live in Kentucky, please contact your state senators and urge them to support the medical cannabis bill. Then, please call Sen. Westerfield’s office and urge him to schedule a public hearing and call Senate President Robert Stivers’ office and urge him to bring the bill to a vote in the Senate.

A summary of the bill is available here

Support for medical cannabis has been growing for several years. U.S. Senator Rand Paul added his support for the effort in March 2018. Gov. Andy Beshear was elected in November 2019 after supporting medical cannabis as a candidate.

A February 2020 Kentucky Health Issues Poll found that 90% of Kentuckians support medical cannabis.


Senators advocate for bill to end marijuana prohibition in Kentucky

 

In December 2019, Sen. Cluster Howard announced that he would sponsor a bill in 2020 to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana

The legislature has declined to consider previous bills on this subject. Similar bills were sponsored in 2018 and 2019 by Sen. Dan Seum, who retired in late 2019, and by Sen. Perry Clark in 2017.
 

Although it may take some time for an adult-use legalization bill to pass in Kentucky, these senators and others have started a conversation that will eventually lead to the end of cannabis prohibition.

Lawmakers pass, governor signs limited CBD bill 

 

On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Kentucky then-Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a proposal that was intended to allow patients to use cannabidiol (“CBD,” a non-psychoactive component of marijuana) if directed by a physician. The law went into effect immediately with his signature, but it is extremely unlikely it will actually result in patients being able to access CBD unless it is revised by the legislature. Unfortunately, the legislation excludes the vast majority of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana.

For more information on this law, please see our summary of SB 124.