For First Time a Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana Will Receive a Hearing in the Kentucky Senate

Legislation to make Kentucky the 40th state to legalize medical marijuana will receive a hearing in its first Senate committee on Thursday.

Senate Bill 47, filed by Senator Steve West with a bipartisan coalition of 13 cosponsors, will receive a hearing Thursday in the Senate Licensing & Occupations Committee. This marks the first time that any Senate committee has held an official hearing on a bill that would make medical marijuana legal. This is despite the fact that the House of Representatives passed a similar measure in 2020 and 2022.

“I believe we have enough votes to get this passed”  Senator Steve West told us. “It’s a big deal that we’re even having a hearing.”

In an important development Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer now says that if the bill has the votes to pass and makes it to the Senate floor, he won’t prevent it from receiving a vote.

Under the proposed law those who receive a recommendation from a licensed practitioner and obtain a card from the state would be authorized to possess and use marijuana and marijuana products. The law would establish a system of licensed marijuana dispensaries, with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control “charged with the implementation, operation, oversight, and regulation of the medicinal cannabis program”.

The measure would require the state to issue at least 25 dispensary licenses, 15 cultivator licenses, five processor licenses and three producer licenses.

The bill would place explicit rental protections for patients, stating that “A landlord shall not refuse to lease to, or otherwise penalize, a person solely for his or her status as a cardholder, unless failing to do so would violate federal law or regulations and cause the landlord to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.” In addition, it states that “No landlord may be penalized or denied any benefit under state law for leasing to a cardholder”, and that “a landlord shall not include in a rental agreement terms and conditions that prohibit the use of medicinal cannabis by a cardholder.

For the full text of Kentucky’s Senate Bill 47, click here.

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