Common Ground: Cannabis

02/12/2018 06:11 PM

Cannabis, marijuana, weed — whatever you call it — it’s been a hot button issue for years.

It’s an issue that’s been picking up steam recently here in the Commonwealth, with members from both sides of the aisle introducing legislation to legalize marijuana in one form or another.

Twenty-nine states across the nation have legalized cannabis—either for medicinal or recreational use, but it remains illegal in Kentucky.

There are two bills filed in the General Assembly which would change that status of cannabis: Senate Bill 80 and House Bill 166.

Senate Bill 80 —filed by Republican Sen.r Dan Seum. R-Fairdale, seeks to legalize all forms of cannabis use. His measure would allow anyone 21 years or older to purchase up to 28 grams of cannabis. He estimates it will create 15,000 jobs, and generate around $100-200 million in extra revenue annually.

House Bill 166 has also been filed—by Democrat Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, his measure would legalize medical cannabis.

This measure would allow those with certain medical or depilating conditions to purchase and use cannabis. It would create a new “Cannabis Enforcement Program” within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and require users to be prescribed by a doctor. Many supporters of the measure see cannabis as a better alternative to opioids for pain and other illness.

The measure is being pushed aggressively by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
A wide majority of Republicans in the state legislature are still against legalizing cannabis in the state of any form.

Governor Bevin has called legalization a “suckers bet” saying the disadvantages far outweigh the revenue benefits the state would see from legalization.

Federally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to crack down on the use of cannabis—which still remains illegal federally—recently rescinding the “Cole Memo” which provided some legal protections for businesses operating in states that allow legal cannabis.

So where does that leave us in the Commonwealth? It’s unclear.

For years, medical cannabis advocates have tried and failed to get medicinal use in Kentucky; filing bill after bill — this session’s bill could have the same fate as the other failed bills. The House bill, HB 166 has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee as of February 8 — meaning it could receive a hearing after all.

As for Senate Bill 80—which seeks to legalize cannabis completely—that is more of a long shot—and will likely not receive a hearing.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at



  • Geoff Young for Congress wrote on February 13, 2018 08:32 AM :

    As the only Democrat who can possibly beat Andy Barr (R-al Qaeda), I support Ky. Senate Bill 80, which would legalize all forms of cannabis use. Barr wants to keep fighting the failed “War on Drugs.”

    Although Alison Lundergan Grimes supports medical marijuana, as I do, she is one of the most corrupt Democrats in Kentucky. She belongs in a federal prison for being part of a conspiracy to rig & steal the entire “Democratic” primary for Governor in 2015. She’s also helping the KDP rig & steal the “Democratic” primary for KY-6 right now. I’m working on a federal criminal complaint.

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on February 13, 2018 12:01 PM :

    Last nights Kentucky Tonight was excellent start to finish. One of the best ever on that long running program. The intro was different and I really thought it brought something that was needed for context to the start the discussion. Two thumbs up for whoever did that at KET

    The advocates for medical cannabis needs to work with Rep.Sim or get another person to carry the bill. Being on TV is difficult. Rep. John Sims had a very rough outing last night on the program. He didn’t have or seem to know much about his own bill. Also hadn’t took the time to get up to date with the cannabis plant and understand its compounds and have a counter to the other sides arguments against. Rep Sim is new to all this, and hopefully , with time he will be better prepared to articulate his future bills better next time..

    Rep Kim Moser and Dr. Mazloomdoost came well prepared. Those 2 didn’t miss a beat. Very impressive.

    Jamime Montalvo held his own I thought. Jamime made some very good points and was up to date with most of the benefits that many use the pot for today for health reasons. I also like how he talked about quality control. That is a very important issue today and rarely is talked about. Knowing what you get every time is safe and not laced with other compounds. Such as Carfentanil or Fentanyl. , etc..

    All in all , the Moser / Mazloomdoost argument won last nights debate. Start to finish was informative dialogue back and forth about the medicinal uses of the plant. . They covered everything possible with the time allowed. They’re much left to go over and more discussions to be had for processing. Hopefully they can bring them back and cover more because I think this issue isn’t going away.. RL

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