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House Speaker David Osborne says final vote on medical marijuana likely to come this week

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The House could take final action this week on a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky while there is no sign of a vote on sports wagering, according to House Speaker David Osborne.

The medical marijuana bill, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, cleared the House Judiciary Committee on a 17-1 vote on Wednesday with one abstention, which sent it to the full House. Osborne, R-Prospect, told reporters Friday that it will be discussed in caucus on Tuesday where they will “develop a plan.”

Legislators will not meet Monday because of President’s Day.

House Speaker David Osborne expects medical marijuana to get a vote on the floor next week. However, the prospects of the same for sports wagering is more cloudy, he said. (Kentucky Today/Tom Latek)

Osborne said it’s possible the medical marijuana measure could see a floor vote next week.

“Rep. Nemes has made significant revisions to the bill to gain a lot of support. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jason Petrie [R-Elkton] has worked very hard on the bill as well, and I think they have done a good job of building support for it,” he said.

Since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, 32 more states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands have enacted similar laws.

A similar measure passed a committee last year but never had a vote on the House floor, but Nemes believes its time has come since it currently has 50 co-sponsors. “It’s going to get a vote on the House floor,” he said. “It’s going to pass overwhelmingly, more than two to one. I expect the first number in the vote total will be a seven,” meaning at least 70 votes.

Nemes added, “My message to citizens is don’t give up, don’t stop, let’s go. Contact your senators and let them know where you are. I believe we have the votes in the Senate today.”

A recent poll by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that 90 percent of Kentuckians support medical marijuana.

However, the future remains cloudy for sports wagering legislation, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger. The measure easily made it through a House committee but has stalled since.

“Chairman Koenig is still diligently working to satisfy concerns of some of the members,” said Osborne.

When pushed by reporters if he was as sure that bill would get a vote next week as medical marijuana, Osborne replied, “I am not as confident.”

He added, a vote on sports wagering is expected before action on the budget. “It would be important to know if we’re going to have that revenue or not.”

Gov. Andy Beshear has made revenue from sports wagering part of his budget, estimating it at over $20 million per year.

As for the budget itself, Osborne says to expect a House floor vote during the first week of March. “You started seeing public meetings of the subcommittees this past week. Those will continue for the next couple of weeks and then the overall committee will start meeting.”

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One Comment

  1. Bruce Pinckney says:

    As a Veteran rated 100 percent disabled I request the medical marijuana bill be past. There are so many Veterans that I have had the pleasure of talking to that are requesting that this bill be passed to obtain relief of pain. Please don’t load it down with alot of stipulations where as we can’t get help from insurance companies and that we would have to purchase it from a pharmacy where as we could not afford the prices. Please stop all the pro’s and con’s and pass the bill giving so many needing people relief from this pain that we feel each and every day. Please help the people that need this help.

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