Gregory A. Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org 2:48 p.m. EST February 12, 2015
FRANKFORT, Ky. – House Speaker Greg Stumbo's medical marijuana bill wasn't going to pass this year anyway, he said Thursday, so his House Bill 3 is likely dead after no vote was taken in a committee hearing.
"It's not going to pass this session," said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. "Everybody knows that."
The purpose of presenting the bill anyway to the House Health and Welfare Committee was to promote discussion on the issue that Stumbo said he believes will become law someday.
"Obviously, there's a national trend," Stumbo said, after earlier saying he's been convinced of the need by families in his district who have loved ones battling epilepsy.
Stumbo said he expects the issue to be revisited later this year before next year's session.
"I think we got the ball rolling," he said. "And I think it's rolling in the right direction now."
A similar bill passed the House health committee last year but never was put to a vote on the House floor.
Supporters of medical marijuana say it can help treat maladies such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Critics of medical marijuana say generally that medical use is not supported by scientific evidence and ultimately leads to recreational abuse and illegal trafficking under the guise of medicine.
While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the U.S. Justice Department has issued guidelines under which it wouldn't interfere with state marijuana laws — if certain requirements, including having regulatory structure, preventing sales to minors and preventing marijuana from getting to gangs — are met.
Almost two dozen states have laws allowing medical marijuana, not including the District of Columbia. Although Kentucky isn't one of those, the issue has been supported strongly in previous years' Bluegrass Polls. Four states allow recreational use.
Reporter Gregory A. Hall can be reached at (502) 582-4087. Follow him on Twitter at @gregoryahall.