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Will Medical Marijuana Reach Critical Mass In Kentucky? Not Likely In 2019.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Despite bipartisan backing, medical marijuana legislation has yet to gain a solid foothold in the Kentucky General Assembly.

One bill up for discussion this week, House Bill 136, would set up new systems to oversee the growing, regulating, and prescribing of medical marijuana in the commonwealth. Yet even with a long list of sponsors for the legislation, backers like Jaime Montalvo with Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana say moving a bill to the floor has been and continues to be a journey.

"It is growing," he reports. "I've been here since 2013 now and I've slowly seen it increase in support by legislative members. We have 43 co-sponsors. Unfortunately we didn't have the support of the leadership in order to push for the vote."

While Montalvo says a lack of "legislative courage" is to blame for the slow movement of medical marijuana bills, Republican leaders argue more medical trials are needed to bolster the case for legalization. Senate President Robert Stivers revisited that theme early in the session, citing concerns about the amount of carcinogens in marijuana.

"We're going to smoke marijuana and outlaw tobacco? That's a little inconsistent to me," the Manchester Republican said.

HB 136 is reportedly slated for a discussion with no vote in committee Wednesday.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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