Kentucky Senate Leader Could Block Medical Cannabis Bill

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R) hasn’t definitively stated whether he would allow a medical cannabis bill to be considered by the state Senate.

Full story after the jump.

Kentucky state Rep. Jason Nemes (R), who is sponsoring a bill to legalize medical cannabis, believes the proposal has the votes in the Senate; however, Nemes is unsure whether Senate President Robert Stivers (R) will allow the bill to be brought for a vote, WHAS11 reports.

“The whole ballgame obviously, again, is in the Senate. I think we have a strong majority in the Senate that would support it. I’m trying to convince the senators to actually call it for a vote.” Nemes to WHAS 11

In an interview with WHAS11 earlier this month, Stivers said he was open to discussing the issue but voiced concerns about medical cannabis studies.

“This is not a drug that’s a panacea to cure everything,” he said during a January 3 interview with WHAS11, “but if there were more studies and the [Food and Drug Administration] or John Hopkins or somebody like that would come out and show how it should be used for medicinal and therapeutic values, then I think it would be an easier path forward.”

During an interview last week with Kentucky Tonight, Stivers was evasive when pressed on whether he would bring the bill up for a vote were the House to approve it but did indicate he did not support taxing medical cannabis if legalized.

“To that extent on medical marijuana I’ve been clear,” Stivers said. “I think there is statistically significant indicators because I’ve read 20 studies and those are the key buzzwords that it can help in nausea suppression, helping you eat, spasticity … but it is adverse to brain development if you’re under 25. … You’re more likely to a psychotic event if you have overexposure to THC. … If you smoke it, it has 50% more carcinogens than tobacco does.”

Nemes’ legislation would allow medical cannabis access for patients with any type or form of cancer regardless of stage; chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain, epilepsy or any other intractable seizure disorder; multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity; or nausea or vomiting disorders.

The House passed a similar medical cannabis bill in 2020 but it was never considered in the Senate.

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