- D.H. Reilly
Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Kentucky in 2022?
Will 2022 be the year you can finally get a Kentucky Marijuana Card? Hopefully it will be, so Republicans and Democrats in the legislature, the governor, our state’s military veterans, Kentucky businesses, and Bluegrass State voters all get their way.
We obviously can’t predict the future, but with so many people lining up to support medical marijuana in Kentucky, we think 2022 has a good chance of being our year!
Republican and Democrat Lawmakers Support Medical Marijuana
One piece of the legalization puzzle is already in place in Kentucky, as legislators from both sides of the aisle have publicly supported medical marijuana.
The latest attempt at creating a medical marijuana market here came from Democrats in the House and Senate, who collaborated to introduce what they’re calling the “LETT’S GROW” bill.
Representative Rachel Roberts of Newport told WKRC, Cincinnati’s CBS/CW affiliate, that “L” stands for legalize, “E” for expunge, and “T” for treatment since it is a medicine that people are asking for. The second “T” stands for tax, since funds and perpetuity were set aside for treatment facilities.
While Roberts is the bill’s primary sponsor in the House, Democratic Senators David Yates and Morgan McGarvey, both of Louisville, introduced the legislation from the Senate side.
“I think this bill stands to benefit everyone in Kentucky. We’re going to create a new industry,” McGarvey told WAVE, Louisville’s NBC affiliate. “We’re going to get the tax revenue from it. We’re going to catch up to the states that are already doing this and I think it’s a good thing.”
Other States Are Already Doing This, but LETTS Is a Longshot
Kentucky is behind the times when it comes to cannabis reform, as thirty-seven other states have embraced medical marijuana and eighteen of those states have also legalized recreational use.
It’s the issue of recreational use that makes the LETTS legislation such a longshot. Previous attempts at creating a medical marijuana market here have fallen short due to politicians who are unswayed by science. And, the will of voters were ignored by politicians swayed by outdated stigmas about marijuana. Will legislators who resisted medical marijuana bills in 2020 and 2021 now support a medical marijuana bill that also legalizes recreational use?
Maybe, but we wouldn’t count on it.
Republican-Crafted Medical Marijuana Bill Is Kentucky’s Best Shot in 2022
The latest attempt at medical marijuana legislation from Republican Jason Nemes, of Louisville, is a Republican-Crafted Medical Marijuana Bill that’s Kentucky’s Best Shot in 2022.
Nemes introduced medical marijuana bills in both 2020 and 2021, and his 2020 version even passed the House before dying in a Senate committee.
Nemes’ Bill Is Vague to Attract More GOP Support
Republican opposition to cannabis reform in states that still lack a medical marijuana market remains the biggest barrier between suffering citizens and relief.
In an effort to make his latest bill more viable and more attractive to Republican colleagues, Nemes has left much of the law vague and undefined so many of the specifics about the program are left unaddressed. Should the bill pass, those details would be finalized by legislators during an implementation period later this year in preparation for launching the state’s market in 2023. It’s as though Nemes is saying to his colleagues, “You know this is going to happen; at least my bill lets you control how it happens.”
So, we do not know exactly what qualifying conditions will make patients eligible for Kentucky Marijuana Cards, nor the specific possession limits. But we do know that:
At a minimum, cancer, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, chronic or debilitating nausea or vomiting, and chronic or debilitating pain would all be qualifying conditions
The bill would ban discrimination against medical marijuana patients in child custody cases and organ transplant lists
Underage patients would be allowed to dose at school under the supervision of a school nurse
Whole-plant cannabis products would be available to patients under the currently proposed bill, but smoking would be banned and patients would need to vaporize their medicine
Home cultivation would also be banned
Some in GOP Remain on the Fence, Others Firmly Oppose HB 136
Despite Nemes’ efforts at making the law more attractive to his GOP colleagues, there has been some hesitation and outright opposition from his fellow Republicans.
House Speaker Pro Tempore, David Meade of Stanford, said that he’s still “on the fence” about medical marijuana. And Senate Floor Leader, Damon Thayer of Georgetown, said he will oppose the bill no matter the wishes of the people of Kentucky.
“I know my constituents are for it,” Thayer said, “but this is a republic, and they elect us to go to Frankfort and make decisions on their behalf—and if they don’t like it, they can take it out on me in the next election.”
Voters May “Take It Out” on Politicians Who Oppose Medical Marijuana
Thayer and other lawmakers may indeed face the wrath of voters, should they continue to oppose medical marijuana.
The voters of Kentucky are firmly behind medical marijuana, but “Republican legislative leaders don’t seem to care.”
But, sooner or later, they’ll have to care if they want to continue to be elected. Research shows that in Kentucky, marijuana legalization is supported by 71% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans. Furthermore, the only subcategory of Republicans where support for full legalization of marijuana is less than 50% is Baby Boomers and voters older than them. In other words, over time, support for cannabis reform among Republican voters is only going to grow.
It May Not Be In 2022, but Medical Marijuana Is Coming to Kentucky
As support for cannabis reform remains strong among Democrats and grows among the GOP, suffering Kentuckians will eventually find the relief they’ve been seeking.
And with multiple bills introduced in the legislature and a pro-cannabis-reform governor waiting to sign one, 2022 may indeed be our year.
But whether or not it comes in 2022, medical marijuana is coming to Kentucky. It’s just a matter of time, so why not get ready for its arrival now?
Reserve an appointment online today with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you as soon as Kentucky’s medical marijuana market is established.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Without even leaving your home, you’ll learn if you qualify for a Kentucky Marijuana Card and how cannabis might help you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of the evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6360, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust as soon as it’s available!