Kentucky Medical Cannabis Bill Struggles to Gain Senate Support
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Kentucky Medical Cannabis Bill Struggles to Gain Senate Support

Despite House passage, the state’s upper chamber appears set to stall on the issue for a third straight year.

March 28, 2022

Kentucky lawmakers are projected to adjourn from their 2022 legislative session April 14 with medical cannabis legalization falling by the wayside for the third straight year.

House Bill 136, which aims to allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients for six qualifying conditions, cruised to passage, 59-34, in the House on March 17. Sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, an earlier version of the bill also passed the House via a 65-30 vote in 2020.

RELATED: Kentucky Medical Cannabis Reform Inches Closer With House Passage

But that same level of support has yet to be replicated in the Senate.

A week after the most recent House passage, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said the legislation appears to be dead for yet another session, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

“I have said all along I wouldn’t stand in its way if we had the votes, but we do not have the votes in the Senate,” Thayer said.

Kentucky is one of 13 states that has yet to legalize the commercial sale of medical cannabis without low-THC restrictions. The state’s House-approved measure aims to allow access to patients with the following conditions: cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy/seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the bill’s text.

More than half of Republican House members voted, 35-33, in support of H.B. 136 earlier this month, and all but one Democrat in the chamber supported the bill.

Neither the GOP caucus nor Democratic caucus released a whip count in the Senate, according to the Herald-Leader.