Some high-profile bills still in limbo as Ky. legislative session winds down

Governor Andy Beshear is calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 10:55 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear is calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky.

The Republican-led bill passed in the House with bipartisan support, but Republican leaders in the Senate say they don’t support it and that the bill is likely dead for the year.

Julie Cantwell has been fighting for medical marijuana legislation for several years.

“We have people that are sick, that are suffering. You know, cancer patients, epilepsy,” said Cantwell, who is part of the group “Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis.”

It’s personal for her. Growing up, her son Preston suffered from hundreds of seizures a day. He found relief in medical marijuana, which he has to drive five hours to get.

“They’ve got this all wrong if they think that we’re trying to push for recreational, because we’re not. We’re just moms who want to help our kids. We’re wives that want to help our husbands,” Cantwell said.

However, Senate President Robert Stivers says sample sizes are too small, and different legislation would support a Kentucky-based study of benefits.

“That would give us the impetus to come back maybe within a year and say this is what marijuana could be used for, or not used for,” Stivers said.

Governor Andy Beshear said if that’s the key to passing it, he supports getting it done.

“If it’s research that is the claim that’s holding it up, maybe this administration can get that done,” Beshear said.

A bill with a little more momentum is House Bill 606, which would legalize sports betting.

Thursday, Representative Jason Nemes, who sponsored the medical marijuana bill, sent out a tweet saying, “I want to pause to thank my government overlords for protecting me from putting $5 on the Red Sox. I couldn’t make good decisions without y’all.”

It could still pass, but Stivers isn’t too invested in it, saying he doesn’t believe it would be that big of financial gain.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a fiscal issue, and I think it’s a small entertainment issue when you think what our real draws in this state are,” Stivers said.

Lawmakers will be back to wrap up the regular session next Wednesday and Thursday.

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