A bill to give Kentucky residents access to medical marijuana could go up for a full state House vote as soon as this week.
The state’s House Judiciary Committee cleared the bill a 17-1 vote last week. Now, the full House is expected to vote on it and, if approved, it will head to the state Senate. Governor Andy Beshear has indicated he will sign the bill into law if it passes the Senate, which would make Kentucky the 34th state to allow medical use.
“[Kentucky is] a state that’s really been hit hard by the opioid epidemic and patients have been rallying and lobbying in Frankfort for many years imploring lawmakers to pass a medical cannabis law,” Marijuana Policy Project Legislative Analyst Matt Simon told Cheddar Tuesday.
Kentucky has the third-highest rate of opioid fatalities in the nation.
Simon said the bill would prohibit smoking cannabis, but would allow patients to purchase whole flower cannabis for other uses, like vaping and cooking into edibles, Simon said.
Some lawmakers initially thought the anti-smoking clause was too restrictive, but the compromise ultimately made it into the latest version of the bill.