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Kentucky Legislature will Consider Legalizing Medical Cannabis in 2017


icon  13 Dec, 2016  /  icon  0        Author: Sam Wills

The continued legalization of marijuana for different purposes around the United States is something that the federal government will have to live with. The national government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug despite a wave of reforms that has seen many people in America access weed in their states. New marijuana laws are coming up in different parts of the nation and the quest does not seem to end any time soon. It is a journey that started in California where marijuana was legalized for medical use in 1996. Later on, many other states took the bold step to defy federal regulations and they too decriminalize marijuana use both for medical and/or recreational purposes. Today, 28 states in the United States have established state laws that govern the cultivation, possession, sale and use of marijuana for different purposes. Kentucky State is also warming up to these reforms. One of its leaders, Senator Perry Clark is lobbying for comprehensive reforms for medical marijuana delivery in the state. If this push succeeds, Kentucky will be the next state to pass a comprehensive program for medical cannabis.

Even though there was some worry that Kentucky legislature may not hear any bills related to cannabis in the coming 2017 session, Clark introduced a legislation that would provide patients with different devastating health conditions the ability to use medical marijuana. Senator Perry Clark seeks to pursue this through Cannabis Compassion Act of 2017. According to this bill, patients in Kentucky found with a terminal illness such as glaucoma, cancer, peripheral neuropathy, AIDS and Crohn’s disease among other diseases can consider using medical marijuana. There are quite a number of health conditions defined in this bill that will be treatable through medical marijuana if a patient’s doctor recommends so. In that case, such patients will be free to possess an amount not exceeding 3 ounces of cannabis and grow 12 plants for individual use. People with various chronic health conditions such as nausea and pain will also be allowed to participate.

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Unlike in other 28 states that have passed medical marijuana laws, Kentucky state measure will allow the creation of a medical marijuana industry throughout the state making different marijuana products available in stores all around the state. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control will be given the responsibility of tracking and watching over the industry. This latest medical weed bill for Kentucky is similar to a measure that was presented by Clark at the start of 2016. The former measure called for the elimination of marijuana prohibition in the Bluegrass State. The only big difference is that the new Cannabis Compassion Act of 2017 initiated by Clark will require anyone aged 21 years and above to be given a doctor’s recommendation or get the advice of a specialist before they can buy marijuana or become a beneficiary of the program.

During the summer, several meetings were conducted amongst the legislative powers of the state. The purpose of the meetings was to vet the matter of decriminalizing cannabis for medical use among patients. Even the Republican Governor, Mr. Matt Bevin said that he would give his support to a thorough medical weed program that will allow the substance to be prescribed for use just like any other conventional prescription drug.

Even with all these preparations for the bill next year, there will be a big debate on the matter. This is especially because some legislators are reportedly planning to push for a program that is more restrictive to a point where it only permits access for marijuana use among those who are terminally ill. This condition, however, is also part of the measure that has been submitted by Senator Clark. Officials in Kentucky State will be looking forward to what will be a very interesting year in a month’s time following the holiday break. It will be very difficult for Kentucky State to ignore any discussions about marijuana looking at what is happening elsewhere around the country. There is a lot that is happening and marijuana benefits are much evident among users today. The campaign on marijuana is at its peak with patients making preferences to it over traditional prescription drugs. Cannabis has also proved to be effective for treating pain amongst sporting individuals. These benefits are too pleasant for Kentucky State to ignore.

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