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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Why Bill Died the Medical Marijuana Legalized by the Kentucky Senate House (Editorial)

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“It is a shame that Republican leaders are turning their backs on Kentucky farmers and veterans, two Republican-leaning groups that profit directly from legal cannabis.”

Written by Jim Higdon, Cornbread Hemp

Last week, hope that Kentucky would join 37 other states to legalize medical marijuana died by the end of the legislative session. Cause of death: Senate Republican leadership.

Kentucky House, which is overwhelmingly dominated by Republicans, Medical marijuana bill pass is very limited Sponsored by Republican Representative Jason Nems. The bill was too strict by any non-Kentucky standard, but it was a step in the right direction. Passing it would have brought Kentucky closer to becoming a healthier state.

As we continue to study the data generated on medical marijuana cases, it seems clear that states with legal cannabis have a surprising number of better outcomes on a range of key health indicators. Countries with legal medical marijuana saw more than 25 percent Reducing opioid overdosesAnd They became less obese And Less reliance on the kafala system.

These are three areas where KFC can be of some help. Kentucky currently ranks second in death rate from drug overdoses, fourth in child abuse rates, and fifth in obesity rates. It appears that medical marijuana can help with all of these.

I’m a Kentucky native and know about cannabis politics, and I’m the co-founder of a Kentucky-based CBD brand, Cornbread Hemp. Prior to that, I was a journalist covering cannabis policy for POLITICO on Capitol Hill and in legislatures across the country. My father is also a Republican senator from Kentucky. So cannabis in Kentucky is a topic and a place that I understand.

Earlier this year, I published a column in Louisville magazine courier I examined recent poll data that showed how strong support for the legalization of cannabis in Kentucky is. In fact, 52 percent of Kentucky Republicans support the full legalization of cannabis. The number of Republicans willing to pass a medical marijuana bill should be much more restricted.

About a month ago, with two weeks left in session, Kentucky’s medical marijuana bill seemed to have it all right — it was supported by the majority of Kentuckians, including a majority of Republicans, and the House passed plenty of time for the House of Representatives. The elders to put it on the governor’s desk.

But when Kentucky’s medical marijuana bill was submitted to the Senate, Republican leaders refused to send it to the committee, possibly because the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Whitney Westerfield, went out To support the medical marijuana bill during the hearing.

This move by the head of the Judicial Committee deprived the leaders of the ability to finalize the bill in the committee, so they did not send it to a committee at all. So when the session ended last Thursday night, a A handful of Republican leaders succeeded in thwarting the will of the vast majority of Kentucky residents, making Kentucky among the last states to provide safe access to medical cannabis to its citizens.

There are currently 13 states that do not have medical marijuana. South Carolina could be the next state to legalize With a Senate-passed bill under consideration in the House of Representatives, the North Carolina legislature begins its session next month. Moreover, three states are likely to put a medical marijuana question on the ballot in November. That could leave Kentucky on the odd-numbered list of bans by the end of the year, just as you predicted in a column for Lexington Herald Leader earlier this year.

So where do we go from here? Despite this painful setback, all is not lost. For starters, Democratic Governor Andy Bashir was supportive of the medical marijuana bill during the hearing and said he would Consider executive action if the bill is not passed.

It remains to be seen what the governor can do on the matter, aside from directing law enforcement to de-prioritize enforcement of marijuana laws. That would be great, but it’s not a substitute for a legal cannabis program.

It also remains to be seen what, if any, consequences would be paid by Republican leaders to kill medical marijuana. It is a shame that Republican leaders turn their backs on Kentucky growers and veterans, two Republican-leaning groups that benefit directly from legal cannabis.

Kentucky has been cultivating the world’s finest cannabis since 1775. The time to acknowledge this fact is long past. The good news is that the next legislative session is only nine months away. But without national pro-cannabis groups coming to Kentucky to help elect more pro-cannabis Democrats and Republicans, it’s hard to know what will change next year.

Jim Higdon is one of the founders of corn hemp, a premium CBD brand based in Kentucky. He is also the author of The Cornbread Mafia, a factual account of the largest domestic marijuana syndicate in American history, which was based in his hometown of Kentucky.

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