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Has Kentucky Given Up on Marijuana Legalization?

There are no marijuana bills set to be heard in the 2017 legislative session.

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Although there was some momentum earlier this year in the Kentucky Legislature regarding the legalization of marijuana, it appears that lawmakers may have given up on the issue in 2017.

According to a list of Kentucky House Bills pre-filed for next year’s legislative session, not a single measure aimed at the legalization of marijuana is set to be heard in the coming months.

Although there is still a possibility that one could surface before the end of the year, previous pot-related measures, specifically the Cannabis Freedom Act of 2016, had already been introduced by this time last year.

Looking back, Kentucky has shown a lot of promise over the course of 2016 with respect to marijuana reform. Not only did the Cannabis Freedom Act, which was championed by state Senator Perry Clark, mange to become a hot topic of discussion among the state’s legislative forces, but there were even some unpublicized meetings held in July, August and October, intended to “vet” the issue of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to a report from Louisville Public Media.

Even Republican Governor Matt Bevin said during his campaign that he supports the creation of a comprehensive statewide medical marijuana program that allows the herb to “be prescribed like any other prescription drug” – suggesting that he might be inclined to sign a reasonable medical marijuana bill if the State Legislature would simply put one on his desk.

So it is strange that lawmakers have not made it a priority to pre-file any marijuana legislation this year in an effort to take advantage of the momentum that already surrounds the issue. Instead, the focal point of the upcoming legislative session appears to deal mostly with imposing harsher criminal penalties against those people caught trafficking fentanyl, and placing tighter restrictions on the amount of narcotic pain medications physicians are allowed to prescribe at one time.

A recent report from Inquisitr speculates that Kentucky lawmakers may be holding off on the marijuana legalization debate until after it becomes clear that President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet is not going to swoop in and dismantle the entire cannabis industry.

After all, even if the topic of marijuana legalization were well received by the Kentucky Legislature in the next couple of months, there is a possibility the law would never see the light of day if Trumps selection for U.S. Attorney General, Alabama Senator Jeff Session, decides to pull the plug.

Several years ago, a Kentucky Health Issues poll found that almost 80 percent of the adults in Kentucky believe the state should at least put a medical marijuana law on the books.

A message sent to Kentucky Senator Perry Clark inquiring whether he or any other state lawmaker intends to introduce a marijuana legalization bill at some point early next year did not generate an immediate response. 

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