Legislation to legalize medical cannabis in Kentucky - including a system of regulated dispensaries - has been introduced in the state's Senate.
Under the proposed law, those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician would be legally authorized to possess, cultivate and use cannabis for medical purposes; the limit would be set at three ounces and 12 plants. The measure would authorize a system of licensed and regulated dispensaries accessible by all patients.
Qualifying conditions include; “terminal illness, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia, cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, substance use disorder, mood disorder, Alzheimer's disease, lupus, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes, sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, autism, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder" and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican who was elected last year, is in support of legalizing medical cannabis, which adds a lot of weight to efforts in the state to pass this law or one like it. In July, medical cannabis legalization was endorsed by the Kentucky Nurses Association, which was founded in 1897.
“I hope that folks are going to see that when registered nurses say this is an important access to care issue, that folks are going to look at it as the medical and patient care issue that it is and not as a social issue,” Maureen Keenan, executive director of the Kentucky Nurses Association, said at the time.
Although there hasn't been much polling done recently on how Kentuckians feel about medical cannabis, multiple surveys from 2013 found support to be at or around 80%, including this one commissioned by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.