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UK medical cannabis research center won't stall executive action on legalization, Beshear says

medical cannabis
Gerald Herbert/AP
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, file photo file photo, marijuana plants grow under special grow lights in Baton Rouge, La. A House Republican leader's bid to expand Louisiana's medical marijuana program and allow smokable cannabis started to gain traction Thursday, April 15, 2021, as lawmakers advanced a bill that would tax the new therapeutic products. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Gov. Andy Beshear has given the green light to a medical cannabis research center at the University of Kentucky passed by the legislature, but he says the move won't slow down his efforts to explore executive action to legalize medical marijuana.

Acknowledging Thursday that he views the GOP-led General Assembly's vote for the research center as a stalling tactic to avoid taking action on legalization, Beshear said he still sees value in moving forward with it.

"I moved ahead with the center for cannabis at UK because I think it can work with legalized marijuana. It should not stall us in moving toward it. This thing's time has come."
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear

Meanwhile, the governor is pressing ahead with a plan to gather input on the issue statewide before potentially taking action on a framework for legalization.

With a robust response to the governor's initial call for input, Beshear said the original idea of creating a Medical Cannabis Advisory Team has expanded a bit to include a possible second community advisory team, meant to amplify the voices of Kentuckians interested in the issue.

"My timeline for putting together the board has gotten a little longer than I originally liked it to be, but I do think that the product of that is going to be better," the governor said.

Beshear is aiming to hold the listening sessions in late May. As for having a menu of legalization options in front of him, the governor said he's looking at this summer.

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.