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Kentucky makes its first move toward allowing medical marijuana

Kentucky lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for some conditions.

House Bill 136 has moved out of committee and is now the first medical marijuana bill to advance in the statehouse.

Medicinal uses only

The bill would not allow anyone to smoke medicinal marijuana, nor grow it for their own use. It would create a state-regulated system of growers, manufacturers and distributors.

The list of conditions that doctors could prescribe the drug include cerebral palsy, Chron’s disease, epilepsy and chronic pain.

There is limited time in this legislative session for the bill to move through both the House and Senate and then appear on the governor’s desk, but supporters are heartened that the bill has gotten this far.

The only marijuana use Kentucky currently allows is the use of cannabidiol at universities for clinical trials of intractable seizure disorders.

Marijuana OK in 10 states, DC

Meanwhile, California approved medicinal use of marijuana in 1996. Colorado legalized recreational use of small amounts of marijuana in 2014. As of 2019, 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.

Sixteen states, including Kentucky, consider marijuana in almost all uses to be illegal. The federal government considers marijuana to be a Schedule I drug – meaning it has no medical use and has a high potential for dependency, putting it on par with heroin, fentanyl and peyote.

A recent national poll found that while 85 percent of voters ages 18 to 34 and 63 percent of voters ages 35 to 49 approved of recreational marijuana, only 44 percent of voters older than 65 felt the same way.