Kentucky’s state House on Thursday passed a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in the state after several unsuccessful earlier attempts.
The bill passed the chamber in a 65-30 vote, with all but two Democrats and a majority of Republican members present voting for it, the Courier-Journal reported.
The measure’s path is uncertain in the state Senate; Senate President Robert Stivers (R) has suggested he believes further research is needed into medical marijuana’s effectiveness before it should be legalized.
The bill, House Bill 136, would establish a regulatory framework for patients to obtain cannabis with a doctor’s prescription at approved dispensaries, under the auspices of the renamed Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control.
Primary sponsor Rep. Jason Nemes (R) defended the measure against skeptics, saying a series of floor amendments made it “the tightest medical marijuana law in the country.” The amendments include a ban on smoking medical marijuana, the option for counties to opt out and a ban on public usage, the newspaper reported.
Discussing the bill’s chances of success in the Senate, Nemes later told reporters “we have momentum, but we’re not there yet.”
Stivers, meanwhile, said Thursday he believes the measure has a “narrow path” to clearing the Senate, adding “I think people are going to look at it and consider it.”
Nemes, meanwhile, told reporters “House Bill 136 is that narrow path,” adding “I think a majority of his members will agree with it, and I’m going to ask [Stivers] to give us a vote.”