© 2023 WUKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Kentucky House passes bill to legalize medical marijuana

Karyn Czar

The Kentucky House has endorsed legalizing medical marijuana. The House passed a bill Thursday to strictly regulate the use of cannabis for a list of eligible medical conditions. Karyn Czar reports from Frankfort.

Representative Jason Nemes used to be strongly against any laws to legalize medical marijuana. On Thursday he fought on the House floor for the bill he’s sponsoring to do just that. Nemes says HB 136 takes marijuana off the black market, regulates it, and allows it to be produced and distributed in a safe way.

“If your physician or your wife’s physician or your husband’s physician or God forbid your child’s physician told you that this product works in other states, and it will help your child what would you do?” Nemes said, “If you would fight for your kid hit the green button.”

Representative Al Gentry favors the bill and shared personal stories of people he knows who have benefited from medical marijuana.

“I know real people who have had their lives turned around by these products and a lot of them are living in the closet or living in secrecy because they feel like they’re a criminal.”

Those who oppose the bill worry that marijuana will become a more accessible gateway drug that would lead to addiction and Representative Matt Lockett argued that legalizing it would go against federal laws.

“Our federal government has said that marijuana is against the law. We can’t change that in this body.” Lockett continued, “But what we are being asked to do is go against federal law is to pass a law directly in opposition to a federal statute.”

Representative Pamela Stevenson’s response, “Last week we voted that anybody in the state of Kentucky that enforces a federal gun law could be prosecuted. And we didn’t even have a law in mind. It’s just the thought that if the federal government tells us to do something in relationship to guns, we’re not going to do it”

The bill ended up passing 49-34 and heads to the Senate. If it becomes law, smoking or growing the product at home would not be allowed, vaping would. And there are strict guidelines as to what medical conditions qualify for a medical marijuana prescription.

Karyn Czar joined the WUKY News team July 1, 2013, but she's no stranger to radio.