Lawmakers in the Bluegrass State are currently considering a medicinal cannabis bill. With it, Kentucky could allow medical marijuana for these conditions.
Legislators from both major parties are working together to pass a medical marijuana law this year. House Bill 166 (HB-166), if passed, would permit patients with serious health conditions to use cannabis therapies.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee are deliberating the bill this week.
Rep. John Sims Jr., a Democrat from Fleming, is the sponsor of the bill. The current measure does not contain a specific list of conditions that would qualify a patient for the program.
But Jaime Montalvo, of activist group Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, told the press that a substitute draft of the bill has been written.
Rep. Sims said the new version of HB-166 is pending introduction.
Conditions Under Consideration, A to Z
Lawmakers are considering the following conditions for inclusion in Kentucky’s medical marijuana program.
- AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
- ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Chronic or debilitating disease
- Cognitive disorders
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Movement disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Peripheral neuropathy
- PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
- Severe, debilitating pain
- Severe nausea
- Terminal illness
- Traumatic brain injury
- Wasting syndrome
Strict Rules for MMJ
Kentucky’s medical marijuana program will be strictly regulated under HB-166. Patients with one of the approved conditions would need a recommendation from a physician.
They would have to obtain a required identification card from the state, as well.
Rules will also limit how much medicine a patient could possess at one time.
Doctors would also be required to obtain state approval to issue recommendations to patients.
Cannabis advocate Montalvo addressed the judiciary committee on Monday, according to reports. He told lawmakers that there is a legitimate need for medical marijuana in Kentucky.
“House Bill 166 is not about a party,” he said. “It’s not about having fun. This is about sick patients, qualifying patients, having safe access to a plant created by our Creator.”
Rep. Sims then urged his colleagues on the committee to approve the measure. He noted that sick people were relying on them to act.
“This is about patients who have exhausted all their options and resources and now are begging us to pull our heads from the sand to help,” Sims said.
Law Enforcement Opposition
As can be expected, law enforcement in the state does not support HB-166.
Keith Cain, the Daviess County Sheriff, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, according to a report in local media.
He urged the body not approve the bill, while seemingly acknowledging its usefulness.
“My opposition to this legislation isn’t because I lack compassion for the sick, but because I think it’s wrong to herald marijuana — with its many proven negative qualities,” said Sheriff Cain.
Chris Cohron, a prosecutor from Warren County, also warned against passage of HB-166.
“This is a road we do not want to go down,” he said ominously.
Final Hit: Kentucky Could Allow Medical Marijuana For These Conditions
A vote by the judiciary committee to send the measure to the full House for deliberation could happen as soon as today. Rep. Sims is optimistic about the outcome.
“We’re close on the votes,” he told reporters.