Kentucky Senate Committee Approves Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

For the first time ever a Senate committee in Kentucky has passed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana

The Senate Licensing & Occupations Committee voted 8 to 3 today to pass Senate Bill 47, filed by Senator Steve West with a bipartisan coalition of 13 cosponsors. The measure will now be sent to the full Senate, where passage would put it before the House which passed similar measures in 2020 and 2022 that stalled in the Senate.

In past years Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer has stood in the way of medical marijuana bills advancing in the Senate, but he now says that if the bill has enough votes to pass he won’t prevent it from advancing to the House.

If Senate Bill 47 is passed into law those who receive a recommendation from a licensed practitioner and obtain a medical marijuana card from the state would be authorized to possess and use marijuana and marijuana products. Although smoking marijuana would be prohibited, patients would still be allowed to get dried marijuana flower for vaping purposes

The law would establish a system of licensed marijuana dispensaries which would be authorized to sell marijuana to authorized patients. 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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