Kentucky Gov. Andy Bashear is doing what he can to support a cannabis industry in his state.
The Democratic governor signed legislation April 26 that authorizes a cannabis research center at the University of Kentucky, according to the Associated Press.
The measure, approved by the Legislature on the last day of this year’s legislative session earlier this month, was backed by key lawmakers who were opposed to legalizing medical cannabis in the state, the news outlet reported.
The research center, they argued, would allow more time to study the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating certain ailments.
Bashear used his line-item veto authority to expand the center’s work and allow more flexibility in choosing its oversight board, AP reported.
In his line-item vetoes, Bashear cut language that would have allowed University of Kentucky officials to be considered for board membership alongside medical specialists, according to the news outlet. He also struck provisions that would have restricted the center’s work and its access to state funding.
“I am vetoing these parts because they limit the purpose of the center and dictate who the president of the University of Kentucky should consider appointing to the advisory board after giving the president of the university sole appointing power,” Beshear said in his veto message, according to AP.
The line-item vetoes will remain intact since Kentucky’s Republican-controlled Legislature will not reconvene for its next regular session until January 2023.
Separate legislation to legalize medical cannabis won House approval in March before ultimately dying in the Senate this year.
Bashear has since been pondering executive action on medical cannabis, and has instructed his legal team to review potential options to legalize cannabis for medical purposes through an executive order, AP reported.
The governor is also creating a medical cannabis advisory team to gather public input on the issue, according to the news outlet, and said last week that the team’s review will likely be completed in the next couple of months.
In the meantime, the legislation establishing the cannabis research center authorizes the University of Kentucky’s president to appoint members of an advisory board that will oversee the center’s work and finances, AP reported.