Ky. Senate Committee Takes Up Medical Marijuana

Jan 15, 2014

The debate over medicinal cannabis continued in Frankfort Wednesday as Senators heard more testimony from legalization advocates.

Much of the discussion in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare centered around THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. Committee chair Julie Denton tried to limit the conversation to forms of cannabis oil that could be effective at treating epilepsy and other conditions without having the potential to be used for recreation.

"I think in order for it to move anywhere in Kentucky, to get this issue moving forward, it's going to probably have to start with the oil and have it be dispensed by physicians in a very controlled setting or you're not going to have [a] public who's going to be responsive and accepting of this," Denton said.

Sen. Perry Clark, who has introduced legislation legalizing medicinal cannabis into the Republican-controlled Senate many times in the past, argued that the entire cannabis plant needs to be considered because THC often works in conjunction with other ingredients to produce therapeutic effects.

"You know we all worry about these bugaboos about somebody getting high and you never hear somebody say, 'What about everybody on Vicodin? What about everybody on Percocet? What about everybody on Hydrocodone?" he said.

Clark also suggested that Kentucky could possibly usher in medicinal cannabis under the state's Hemp Bill by raising the allowable level of THC.

Currently, there is no legislation in the House, but Speaker Greg Stumbo has expressed an openness to considering the benefits of medicinal cannabis.