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Kentucky governor explores executive action on medical marijuana reform as bill passed from home stalls

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a Bill passed by the House of Representatives to legalize medical marijuana In Kentucky, the Senate may be stuck in the closing days of this week’s legislative session, but the governor on Monday reiterated that he is exploring the possibility of executive action to advance reform.

Governor Andy Bashir (D) first indicated last week that he is interested in what can be done at the administrative level to provide patients with access to medical cannabis, as it has become increasingly unlikely that the legislature will act by the time lawmakers meet on Thursday.

“I want to see Kentucky finally legalize medical marijuana,” he said during a press conference Monday. “When the people demand it by an overwhelming majority, the only thing stopping it from happening is that we have no ballot initiatives, and then the legislature will not now follow the will of the people.”

Pressed into a follow-up question to expand on previous comments about possible executive action on the issue, the governor did not provide many details, saying that while there have been improvements to medical cannabis legislation this session, it has not gone beyond the end and so the administration will “look at in the legal options available” to do something on her own.

Bashir has generally spoken of holding groups to address the lack of access to cannabis for veterans, glaucoma patients, and those looking for alternatives to opioid-based painkillers.

“I will assign our lawyers to the executive branch, as well as others interested, to consider and explore each option because that is the will of the people,” he said. I hope the legislature will listen to him. If not, we will explore executive options.”

The governor similarly spoke about the need to enact medical cannabis reform in a briefing last Thursday, saying that “the time has definitely come” and that the administration could take steps in terms of boosting cannabis research if that’s what’s holding the legislature back.

A medical cannabis legalization bill from Rep. Jason Nimes (right) that passed the House last month did not get a needed reading from the Senate before the legislative deadline for introducing this session, but there are some hopeful that its provisions can be attached to separate legislation, which is still pending. Life before session time runs out.

However, that may be security thinking, especially given recent notes from Senate leadership that openly challenge or oppose the idea of ​​passing a medical marijuana reform this year.

Senate President Robert Stevens (right) realized that time was running out to introduce a bill to legalize medical cannabis in the state, and She said Last week, the Chamber is likely to introduce separate House-passed legislation to create a center for marijuana research at this hearing.

Meanwhile, Senate President Damon Thayer (right) is vehemently opposed to a broader change to medical cannabis policy, after warning that it is a fast track to full legalization. he is She said Last month, the medical marijuana law passed by the House has no chance of passing this session and is “is over for the year. ”

Thayer, who owns a whiskey distillery, He said during a televised session in January. “But this is a republic, and they elect us to go to Frankfurt and make decisions for them – and if they don’t like it, they can take it out of me at the next election.”

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders from both houses said in January that Legalizing medical marijuana would be a top legislative priority for this year’s session. With that in mind, Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey (Democrat) and two other colleagues introduced their legalization measures in February.

accompanying legislationSB 186 And 521It’s called LETT’s Grow, an acronym built from the main components of billing: legalization of sales, deletion of crimes, treatment through medical use and taxation of adult use sales.

For his part, Nems introduced a previous law for medical legislation in 2020 Well passed the house But he later died in the Senate without a vote amid the early part of the coronavirus pandemic. he is Re-legislate for the 2021 session, but it did not progress.

Nimes has consistently expressed confidence that reform legislation would advance through the legislature if only the leadership He had the “courage” to put it to a vote.

While Bashir said his focus will be on issuing medical cannabis this year, he said he also supports legislation introduced by Representative Nima Kulkarni (D-D) in November that would simply bar people from jail for any marijuana use, saying it is in favor of that policy.

Bill Kulkarni . will Legalization of cannabis possession and personal cultivationHowever, it does not provide a regulatory framework for commercial sales.

The governor also supports the legalization of adult use, saying late last year that “it is time to join hands with many other states to do the right thing.” He added that Kentucky farmers would be in a good position to do so Cultivation and sale of hemp to other countries.

A poll published in 2020 showed that nine out of 10 Kentucky residents support medical marijuana legalizationand nearly 60 percent say cannabis should be legal under “any circumstances”.

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