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Kentucky’s two legislative chambers are at odds on budget for medical cannabis program


Language proposed by the Kentucky Senate would set stipulations on unlocking funds for the state’s medial cannabis program. Two sentences inserted by the Senate were discussed.

The Senate proposed version said without peer reviewed, published research no funds for the Office of Medical Cannabis will be made available. According to Senators research must show “conclusive evidence as to the efficacy of medical cannabis for the persistent reduction of symptoms of diseases and conditions.”

The budget included by the Senate included about $10.3 million in state general funds over two years, and about $4.9 million in other funds. The House-passed version has the same funding but without the proposed conditions from the Senate.

A leading supporter for legalizing medical cannabis in Kentucky is Republican Representative Jason Nemes. He said he intends to keep the Senate language out of the final version of the spending plan.

The bill to legalize and regulate medical cannabis passed through legislature last year and was signed into law by Governor Beshear. The measure would allow medical cannabis to be prescribed for a list of conditions. Some of these include cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The measure would require a person to have an approved card for use and it would prohibit smokable cannabis products.

The state’s medical cannabis program is set to go into effect January 1, 2025.

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