The battle over medical marijuana in Kentucky has been a long one, but for the first time ever, a glimmer of light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.
Don’t get me wrong; the odds of medical cannabis legislation getting to the Governor’s desk this year are very long. But more progress has been made than ever before, and in the end, that is something positive to take away from the legislative session should the ultimate outcome be fallen short of.
Let us backtrack a few days. On March 5th I communicated with Jaime Montalvo of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana – who says he has noticed increased support among lawmakers for medical cannabis law reform this year – about the prospects of a big committee vote scheduled for the following day. “HB 136 will be discussed & voted on tomorrow before the House Judiciary committee which is scheduled to meet at noon, but will likely not vote until around 3:30 or 4,” Jaime told The Marijuana Times. “There are currently 43 co-sponsors to the bill, and has an endorsement from the KY Judge Executives Association. The strict regulation of the bill helped gain neutrality from both the Association of Counties & the Sheriff’s Association, but both groups stopped just short of endorsement. They said that HB 136 addressed all of their concerns but couldn’t endorse it due to its current federal illegality. I really don’t think you could ask for a better statement about cannabis from law enforcement. We’ve worked really hard to address all of their concerns.”
On March 6th the optimism of Jaime and all the other patients and activists in Frankfort and around the state was rewarded when the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee passed HB 136 by a vote of 16 to 1, with one lawmaker not voting.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Maybe it’s not probable, but it’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings,” said Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, a co-sponsor of HB 136.
The committee vote was applauded by activists and elected officials alike in the Bluegrass State.
— KY NORML (@KentuckyNORML) March 7, 2019
— KY4Medical Marijuana (@ky4mm) March 8, 2019
House Bill 136 #MedicalMarijuana has passed the house committee!
— Alison L. Grimes (@KySecofState) March 7, 2019
Time is now running out on this year’s legislative session in Frankfort, so if you live in Kentucky and have been waiting to contact your state representative, now is the time.
“Procedurally it has to be read 3 separate times which takes a few days,” Jaime told us after the successful committee vote. “I believe the next opportunity to vote would be Tuesday or Wednesday, but I don’t know if they will actually put it to a vote.”
Sadly, failure this coming week means another year of waiting for patients in Kentucky. Another year of risking the black market for their medicine or even worse, going without.
And for what? Who is being hurt if someone uses cannabis to treat their ailments? Whose rights are being infringed if we have that choice?
Now ask yourself who is being hurt by a lack of access to medical cannabis.