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Kentucky lawmakers have discussed medical marijuana bills in recent years, but measures have never gained enough momentum to pass the early stages of the state legislature.
Two bills introduced this session, Senate Bill 170 and House BIll 136, would legalize the drug for medicinal use, creating exemptions for dispensaries and rules for how physicians could prescribe it. Both measures have bipartisan support, and Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has said he would support such a law depending on “how it’s written.”
Advocates for legalizing medical marijuana say the drug could provide an alternative to opioids. A 2018 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found opioid prescriptions decreased in states that legalized medical marijuana.
But marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 illegal drug under federal law. And some opponents of legalization question whether doctors who prescribe the drug would be at risk; others, including Senate President Robert Stivers, say they haven’t yet seen enough studies showing marijuana’s benefits.
This week, In Conversation tackles medical marijuana and what its prospects are here.
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