Persistent pro-marijuana lawmakers are again pushing long-shot legislation to legalize the drug for medical purposes, an issue that has been proposed and defeated repeatedly over the years in Kentucky.
Two Republican state representatives, Diane St. Onge of Fort Wright and Jason Nemes of Louisville, introduced what they’ve dubbed the “Trust Your Doctor Bill” on Wednesday, meaning the legislation wouldn’t impose a list of medical conditions for which marijuana might be prescribed.
St. Onge said the legislation would create a strong regulatory framework that would closely track prescriptions, create a licensing system for businesses that would dispense marijuana, and provide information to law enforcement about the identify of patients who receive prescriptions.
Opponents argue that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not politicians, should have final say on determining the medical benefits of marijuana.
Nemes said Kentucky lawmakers who have been reluctant in the past are now open to medical marijuana.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, has said he opposes legalization without studies confirming the benefits.
Sen. Dan Seum, a Louisville Republican who has been a longtime proponent of medical marijuana, said this could be the year for an affirmative Senate vote.
“There is movement in the Senate at this point in time,” Seum said. “There are some people who are not talking, but I’m convinced it’s coming. When you have 80-some percent of the state that wants this bill, I think it’s time.”
Nemes contends marijuana can help a number of conditions, including pain and nausea from cancer treatments.