FRANKFORT — A bill that would legalize the use of medical cannabis in Kentucky has passed the House Judiciary Committee and is headed to the House floor for a vote.
House Bill 136 would make the recommendation of medical marijuana use by a practitioner, as well as the acquisition, cultivation, blending, delivery, distribution, manufacturing, manipulation, packaging for sale, preparation, possession, sale, testing, transportation and transfer of it, legal.
Patients receiving the medical cannabis would be issued a card stating they are allowed to do so at the recommendation of a physician.
State Rep. John Sims Jr. said the bill passed the committee on Wednesday and anticipates it will pass through the House when it is introduced.
“It passed 17 to one in the committee,” he said.
After the house votes, if it passes, the bill will go into a Senate committee and then to the Senate floor. As long as there are no changes, the bill would then go to the governor to sign.
“If there are changes in the Senate, it will come back to the House,” Sims said. “If those changes are approved by the House, it would go back to the Senate, but if they are not, the bill dies.”
Sims said he has worked on this bill for four years and hopes to see it pass this time.
“We’ve worked on this for a long time,” he said. “Eric and Michelle Crawford have lobbied for this and we’ve had several others who have come up to Frankfort to support this bill. There are 33 states that already have one in place. It’s just another tool for physicians to use.”
The Crawford family have been fighting for the legalization of medical cannabis for several years.
Eric Crawford is a quadriplegic who also suffers from glaucoma. He has said in the past that his doctor has recommended medical cannabis as the only truly effective drug to treat his condition.
He testified at the judiciary committee hearing on Wednesday.
“I testified before the committee and told them that I shouldn’t be a criminal; others who use medical cannabis, who are sick, should not be criminals,” he said. “We are very hopeful about this bill. We’ve been working on it since 2013.”
On Wednesday, Eric and Michelle Crawford also posted a message on their Facebook page about the bill passing the judiciary committee.
“Today was a great day at the capital,” they said in the post. “HB136 medical cannabis passed out of the House Judiciary Committee today with a vote of 17 yes votes and 1 no vote. In case you don’t know, that’s huge. We would like to thank each one of you that came to the hearing (Wednesday). It means so much to have you all there supporting medical cannabis with us. We are so honored to have Rep. John Sims Jr. and Rep. Jason Nemes fighting this for us. They are truly good men that genuinely care about sick people . They are a blessing to this issue and all Kentuckians. We are blessed.”
The couple went on to say they believe the bill could pass this year.
“We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there but we have the votes and it is very possible to get it done this year.”
The full bill can be found by visiting https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/20RS/hb136/orig_bill.pdf.