Medical marijuana legislation close to committee vote?

03/14/2018 08:46 PM

FRANKFORT – The medical marijuana bill may be close to a committee hearing, one Republican says.

House Bill 166, sponsored by Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, was heard in committee last week but no vote was taken.Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, filed a committee sub to the bill in an effort to get the votes needed to pass.

“I needed to focus on two things, one is to make sure it didn’t lead into recreational usage because the majority does not want to do that, and the second thing was to make sure that state law enforcement can cooperate with federal law enforcement,” Nemes said.

The bill also specifies that patients who require medical cannabis can’t be in possession of marijuana plants. The original bill specified that patients could possess up to 12 plants.

Jaime Montalvo of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, was disappointed that the bill was not called on Wednesday, and says that there are many Kentuckians needlessly suffering for pain that medical cannabis could relieve.

“This is a sad day for patients across the state, we know we have the votes here in committee,” Montalvo said. “Unfortunately, legislators don’t seem to have the political courage to bring it forward for a vote. I feel that legislators are fearful, majority leaders are fearful of the vote actually passing and medical cannabis actually becoming a reality in Kentucky.”

Greg Wells from Todd County discovered the medical benefits of cannabis after he suffered a brain injury.

“I’ve had trouble with my balance from the brain injury, and it relieved the tension in my nerves where I could walk better without the spasms and stuff like that,” Wells said. “It’s been beneficial to me.”

Nemes expects the bill to be called for a committee vote and feels that there is still enough time left in the session to get it passed in both chambers.

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