Medical cannabis bill not expected to pass this year

FRANKFORT — The future of the medical cannabis bills filed earlier this year are looking grim this Kentucky legislative session.

House Bill 136 was filed in early January, followed by Senate Bill 92. However, both bills have remained in committees.

The bills would make the recommendation of medical marijuana use by a practitioner, as well as the acquisition, cultivation, blending, delivery, distribution, manufacturing, manipulation, packaging for sale, preparation, possession, sale, testing, transportation, and transfer of it, legal.

Kentucky Rep. William Lawrence, who was a co-sponsor on HB 136 said the bill had to take a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy, but he does anticipate the bills going further in the 2022 legislative session.

“There was so much going on with the economic crisis and COVID that needed to get through that leadership did not make the medical cannabis a priority this year,” Lawrence said. “However, I do feel we have the support to push it next year. We are very hopeful to see it get through during the session next year.”

He said he supported the bill because not only will it help those who need medical cannabis, but it will also create jobs for farmers in the area.

“I feel there is a great medicinal benefit,” he said. “I’ve talked with several people and believe it will be beneficial for those who are struggling. It will also create a new revenue stream for farmers in our area who choose to grow it.”

Mason County residents Eric and Michelle Crawford have spent several years lobbying for this bill to be passed.

The Crawfords said they know the support is there for the bill.

“HB 136 has 28 sponsors and SB 92 had 11 as of today,” they said. “Both bills had bi-partisan support. We also feel strongly that the votes were there in both chambers for a floor vote. We know that 90 percent of Kentuckians support medical cannabis but leadership has yet to send either bill to a committee. It’s very frustrating.”

Both are disappointed with the lack of movement on the bills this year.

“We are disappointed, disheartened and saddened that medical cannabis didn’t move in either chamber again this session,” the Crawfords said. “It was hard to have to sit home and not be present in Frankfort but we will continue our advocacy efforts the best we can. We greatly appreciate Rep. Jason Nemes and Sen. Steve West for filing medical cannabis bills for us and are thankful that Rep. Lawrence co-sponsored.”

Eric Crawford is a quadriplegic who also suffers from glaucoma. He has said in the past that his doctor has recommended medical cannabis as the only truly effective drug to treat his condition.

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