Kentucky Gov. Andy Bashear is ready to consider an executive order on medical cannabis if a legalization bill fails to reach his desk this year, according to the Associated Press.
The Democratic governor told reporters April 7 that he is “going to explore” taking action himself if medical cannabis legislation that passed the House last month fails to clear the Senate, where the bill has been struggling to gain support.
“It’s something that we will look at,” Bashear said, according to AP. “Its time has certainly come.”
Rep. Jason Nemes’ House Bill 136, which cleared the House in a 59-34 vote March 17, would allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients for six qualifying conditions.
“You see people from every part of every spectrum that are in favor of this,” Beshear said, according to AP.
The chances of H.B. 136 clearing the Senate before Kentucky’s legislative session wraps up April 14 are dwindling, the news outlet reported; Senate President Robert Stivers said April 7 that “it would be difficult” to pass the legislation as lawmakers reconvene this week for the final few days of the 60-day session.
“Most definitely, I think there is that desire to help individuals,” Stivers said, according to AP. “But with any drug, I think you need to have the full-blown studies.”
Stivers told reporters that studies at Kentucky’s flagship university would offer more insight into the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and would provide lawmakers “the impetus to come back maybe within a year and say this is what marijuana could be used for or not used for,” AP reported.
Bashear, however, has indicated that medical cannabis legalization in Kentucky is already overdue, according to the news outlet.