FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) —
Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky made their case to a legislative panel Monday, touting it as a safe alternative to highly addictive opioid painkillers.
The bill heard by the House Judiciary Committee would strictly regulate the introduction of medical cannabis, and would leave it up to cities or counties whether to allow it. The panel took no vote on the measure, and its chairman said the bill would come up again later.
Showing their pent-up demand for action, proponents packed the hearing and cheered when medical marijuana was touted as a viable option to help with chronic pain or certain diseases.
“House Bill 166 is not about a party,” said Jaime Montalvo, president of the group Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana. “It’s not about having fun. This is about sick patients, qualifying patients, having safe access to a plant created by our Creator.”
The bill resulted from work by a task force led by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2014.