A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: The wrong way to do ‘medical marijuana’; don’t trade one drug crisis for another

By Richard Nelson and Garth Van Meter Special to KyFoward Marijuana as medicine is moving in the Kentucky legislature but before we jump on the bandwagon, we should make sure we are using the same definitions so that we don’t talk past each other. Most people think when you say medical marijuana that a doctor is prescribing a carefully produced and dosed medicine that has been scientifically verified...

Kentucky House approves medical marijuana legislation; measure moves to more uncertain Senate

How House lawmakers voted on the medical marijuana bill. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today) By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky easily passed the House Thursday afternoon after more than two hours of debate. Nearly three dozen states have legalized it, and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, called it, “The tightest medical marijuana...

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...

This week at the Capitol: Honoring Charles Young during Black History month, bills advance

By Robert Weber Legislative Research Commission Highlights of the legislative week typically occur in the historic Senate and House chambers, but this past week the Capitol Rotunda was the scene of an unforgettable moment for many in the statehouse. Those attending the annual Black History Celebration, hosted by the Black Legislative Caucus, recognized a military hero who achieved great success but...

Legislation to legalize medical marijuana overwhelmingly clears House committee

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky easily won passage in a House committee on Wednesday. “We want to get this to as many sick people as we possibly can,” said Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, the main sponsor of the bill, which has undergone much fine-tuning before coming before the House Judiciary Committee. “As part of that, 13.5 percent of the...

Senate president, long the key obstacle to medical marijuana in Kentucky, now sees ‘narrow path’ to it

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The most important legislative opponent of legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky said Friday that there is a “narrow path forward” for it. Senate President Robert Stivers said that the day after a medical-cannabis bill was filed in his chamber. Senate Bill 107 has bipartisan sponsorship from 11 of the Senate’s 38 members. It is a companion...

Republican representative Jason Nemes proposes legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Republican lawmaker from Louisville is proposing legislation for the 2020 General Assembly that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky. Rep. Jason Nemes, whose district includes parts of eastern Jefferson County and Oldham County, introduced similar legislation during the 2019 session, which had 53 bipartisan co-sponsors. It won near-unanimous passage in the Judiciary...

Sellout crowd at Kentucky forum hears there’s no scientific literature to back medical cannabis

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The health benefits of medical marijuana haven’t been proven and more research is needed, according to a leading researcher on the topic, but that hasn’t stopped 33 states from approving it. It’s still to be determined what will influence Kentucky lawmakers as they again consider passing such a law. In the last legislative session, Kentucky...

Registration open for free forum Sept. 23 on policy considerations regarding medical marijuana

Registration is now open for a statewide forum on medical marijuana to be held September 23 in Lexington. The forum is not intended to change minds about whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes, but to share facts to inform how best to promote health, well-being and safety as state lawmakers consider new policies around medical cannabis, said Ben Chandler, CEO of the Foundation for...

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky 2019 health policy forum to focus on medical marijuana legalization

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s 2019 statewide health policy forum will focus on public health considerations associated with legalizing medical marijuana. Former Colorado “marijuana czar” Andrew Freedman will keynote the forum, sharing the impact of legalizing marijuana on a variety of public health measures in that state. Other speakers will focus on the impact of loosening...

Kentucky sets stage for legalization of medical marijuana for certain medcial conditions

By Nadia Ramlagan Public News Service Kentucky lawmakers have taken the first steps toward legalizing medical marijuana. House Bill 136 is up for a House vote. It would allow patients with certain medical conditions to be prescribed medical marijuana by their physician and would permit marijuana plants to be grown in the state by licensed growers and dispensaries. Under House Bill 136, Kentuckians...

House committee unanimously endorses medical marijuana, but Senate, waning session stand in way

With a resounding 16-1 vote, a House committee approved a bill this week to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky, but it seems unlikely to become law, given opposition in the Senate and the fact that only five days remain in the legislative session. House Bill 136, green-lighted by the Judiciary Committee, “would legalize the sale of medical marijuana in Kentucky through state-licensed dispensaries,”...

Kentucky House Judicary Committee votes to advance amended medicinal marijuana legislation

By a vote of 16-1-1, the House Judiciary Committee has voted along bipartisan lines to approve a measure that would make Kentucky the 34th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. HB 136, sponsored by Rep. Diane St. Onge of Fort Wright and Rep. Jason Nemes of Louisville, is aimed at helping Kentuckians find relief from the pain often associated with chronic illnesses. “This consensus legislation...

House health panel’s new chair, Kim Moser, starts fast with bills to ban tobacco at schools and more

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News State Rep. Kim Moser plans a busy first meeting as chair of the House Health and Family Services Committee on Thursday, Feb. 7. She says she has the votes to approve bills to make schools tobacco-free, urge medical-marijuana research, and make it easier to get treatment for addiction. “Those are all issues that we continue to talk about and have taken a...

Medical marijuana proponents have their say; opponents on deck for next meeting

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A legislative committee heard from proponents of medical marijuana last week with opponents to be given an opportunity at the next meeting. Proponents tried to make it clear the marijuana was in no way for recreational use or a revenue source for Kentucky. Opponents have argued that marijuana is a gateway drug that opens the door for much worse later. Sen. John Schickel,...

Registration open for 2018 Bost Health Policy Forum; Opioids and alternative pain therapies among topics

As Kentucky continues to struggle with the health impact and economic cost of a massive opioid addiction crisis, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s annual health policy forum will explore medical marijuana and other alternative pain therapies, as well as the rise in infectious disease associated with the crisis. “We need to understand the truth behind the push for medical marijuana,...

Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis launches statewide grassroots campaign to promote medical marijuana

Kentucky Bluegrass Cannabis, LLC has launched a statewide grassroots campaign seeking to pass legislation that will legalize, regulate, and tax medical marijuana in Kentucky. The campaign – known as Compassionate Access and Relief Effectiveness (CARE) for Kentucky – advocates that citizens and policymakers support legislation currently before the Kentucky General Assembly to legalize medical cannabis. The...

Alison Lundergan Grimes, Rep. John Sims unveil medical marijuana task force legislative proposal

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Rep. John Sims, and members of their medical marijuana task force on Thursday unveiled the legislative proposal that is the result of their discussions. Sims filed House Bill 166 Wednesday. “What started as a whisper years ago is now a loud chorus. Kentuckians have declared 2018 as the year they expect action on medical marijuana from their legislators,”...

Secretary of State meets with advocates to discuss ‘patient-centered’ medical marijuana legislation

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Tuesday initiated discussions about Kentucky medical marijuana legislation with a panel of experts and advocates in Frankfort. Grimes announced the effort last week. “I came to Frankfort to help people, and there are thousands of Kentuckians who need and are begging for medical marijuana to help ease their pain,” said Grimes. “Today’s...

Secretary of State convening task force to propose legislative action to legalize medical marijuana

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is convening a task force of Kentuckians to focus on a legislative proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky, Grimes announced Wednesday. The group will also study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes. “Too many Kentuckians are suffering from debilitating physical and mental illnesses. Most have lived with the effects...