Kentucky Governor Andy Bashir on Tuesday approved the creation of a cannabis research facility in the state, though he vetoed select sections of the legislation. Beshear’s approval of the measure, House Bill 604, comes one week after the Democratic governor announced he would take steps to legalize medical cannabis in the state of Bluegrass.
under legislationThe Kentucky Cannabis Research Center will be established at the University of Kentucky. The new facility will be tasked with planning and conducting research “to advance the study of the use of cannabis and its derivatives for the treatment of certain medical conditions and diseases,” according to the text of the law.
The university has already done some research on cannabis and has an established relationship with the US Food and Drug Administration. The bill also requires the center to apply for approval by the US Drug Enforcement Administration to grow cannabis and legalizes eligibility requirements for individuals interested in participating in clinical cannabis research.
The legislation was passed by the Kentucky legislature earlier this month during the final days of the legislative session. The bill won overwhelming approval from lawmakers after the Senate failed to approve it Bill House 136a medical cannabis legalization bill that was passed by the House of Representatives.
“This invites researchers and scholars from across the state on this issue so that we can reduce bottlenecks in the research and regulatory processes,” said GOP Representative Kimberly Bor Moser, sponsor of the legislation, Said about the house Bill 604 Last month. “Our goal is to find out what conditions cannabis can treat, and in doing so, make Kentucky a national leader in research, given that only one university has a similar program.”
Bashir vetoed the provision to strike parts of the bill he did not support. The governor agreed to the legislative language allowing the establishment of the center, but rescinded other sections including clauses that he said limit the purpose of the center and the powers of the university president in appointing his advisory board.
“I withhold these parts because they limit the purpose of the center and dictate to the president of the University of Kentucky to consider his appointment to the advisory board after the president has been given the university’s unilateral power of appointment,” Bashir wrote In his letter of veto.
“I’m also withholding these parts because ongoing credits may be necessary,” he added.
Because the state legislature has adjourned to the legislative session, the veto of Bashir’s provision will remain in effect and lawmakers cannot override it.
Earlier this month, Bashir said he would Explore Take Action to proceed with the legalization of a medical pot in Kentucky if lawmakers fail to pass House Bill 136. After the bill passed away in the state Senate, The governor issued a plan Last week to get medical cannabis to patients who need it.
“If they are not going to take any action—not even a Senate committee hearing—I think it is my duty to see what is possible given the will and desire of the people to move this matter forward,” seer said. “It is definitely time to move the conversation forward.”
“Would I have been better if the legislature passed it?” Bashir asked. “Yes. But they didn’t.”
Bashir added that he directed his general counsel to advise on operational actions that could be taken to move the medical cannabis process into motion without lawmakers’ approval. He also said he would appoint a medical cannabis advisory committee to hold meetings across Kentucky to get residents’ input on the issue. The governor’s office has also created an email account (GovMedicalCannabisAdvisoryTeam@ky.gov) so that residents who are unable to attend public hearings in person can provide their input.
But Republican lawmakers rejected Bashir’s plan to take unilateral action on the legalization of medical cannabis. Kentucky Senate Speaker Robert Stevens said such a measure would likely be unconstitutional.
“The public should care about a governor who thinks he can change the law with an executive order,” said Stivers. “It simply cannot legalize medical marijuana by executive order; you cannot repeal a law by executive order because it is a constitutional violation of the separation of powers.”