House passes medical cannabis bill in 65-30 vote; pandemic derails progress in Senate
Last update: July 27, 2020
On February 20, 2020, the Kentucky 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. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S. at an inopportune time, and the Senate decided to focus their efforts on the budget and the commonwealth’s pandemic response before adjourning for the year in April.
This setback is a tremendous disappointment for patients, who have been working for many years to convince the legislature to pass medical cannabis legislation. Check back for updates and opportunities to move the issue forward.
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.
This was only the latest in a long line of legalization bills that have been ignored by the Senate. 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.