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The Bottom Line: Medical marijuana bill moves to Senate

House Rep. James Nemes, R-Louisville.

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

FRANKFORT, Ky. — For the first time in state history, a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes passed a full chamber in the Kentucky General Assembly.

The Kentucky House of Representatives voted Thursday to move forward on House Bill 136, medicinal marijuana legislation, by a vote of 65-30.

HB 136 is sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, who said he brought the bill forward to help give relief to many Kentuckians suffering from health conditions that could be legitimately treated with prescription cannabis.

Tax revenue would not be collected from the sale of medical marijuana, just like other prescription drugs in Kentucky. So, the state would not see any significant bump in revenue because of this law.

The bill would allow for dispensaries where people with a prescription for medical cannabis to fill a prescription given to them by a doctor. Medical marijuana is not covered by any form of insurance including private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.

Find more details about the bill on The Bottom Line here.

HB 136 passed on the floor with the addition of many floor amendments that changed the bill by removing optometrists, podiatrists and dentists from the list of doctors that can prescribe, banned advertisements for medical marijuana under the same law that bans advertisements for cigarettes, added four conditions to the list of things that could be treated with this medication, made it so that anyone under 21 could not use medical marijuana in a vaporizing device, ensured those under 18 could not enter a dispensary, and more.

Should the bill receive final passage and become law, there would initially be a dispensary in each of the state’s 15 area development districts, which could be expanded on. The bill also allows for three producers of cannabis for this purpose. Independent safety testers would also be utilized under the bill to ensure the product is safe.

The bill was discussed for hours with spirited debate from lawmakers on the bill and the many floor amendments being considered.

HB 136 now moves to the state Senate for consideration in committee.

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