Matt Turner

Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has formed a task force to study a legislative proposal to legalize medical cannabis and to look at the implementation and regulatory processes involved.

“Too many Kentuckians are suffering from debilitating physical and mental illnesses. Most have lived with the effects of these illnesses for years. We must do more to relieve their pain and suffering, and there is significant evidence that cannabis is beneficial for these individuals, especially veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress,” Grimes, once a Democratic candidate for Senate, said in a statement. “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting.”

Convening next week in Frankfort, the task force will be a diverse group of representatives from Kentucky’s health care community, law enforcement, state agencies with regulatory oversight, medical cannabis advocates, and veterans.

“Kentucky is getting left behind on this issue. Already 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation to help their people,” said Grimes’ co-chair, Representative John Sims, who is authoring legislation for the 2018 session.

Hemp has long been a cash crop in Kentucky, but the Blue Grass State has been unable to pass medical cannabis. Bills were introduced in 2015, 2016, and 2017 but, similar to other southern states, Kentucky could only pass a high CBD oil bill in 2014.

Efforts are underway to pass adult-use cannabis in Kentucky, as well. Echoing Grime’s sense of urgency, John Sims said,”The research is done. The studies have been conducted. It works, and it’s time we end our idling and start having conversations to bring medical marijuana to the Commonwealth. Working together, I’m confident we make this happen in a meaningful and bipartisan manner to bring relief to ailing Kentuckians.”  

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