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Kentucky Governor Says He May Use Executive Order if Medical Cannabis Bill Dies

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that he is considering what he could do to rescue a proposal to legalize medical cannabis that is currently languishing in the state’s general assembly.

The first term Democrat was asked by reporters “if he could potentially issue an executive order making medical marijuana accessible if the bill dies,” the Associated Press reported.

“We’re going to explore that,” Beshear said, as quoted by the news outlet. “It’s something that we will look at. Its time has certainly come.”

Beshear’s comments came nearly a month after the Kentucky House of Representatives easily passed legislation that would legalize medical cannabis in the state for qualified patients.

Jason Nemes (Republican state House Representative) sponsored the measure that would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to qualifying patients suffering from cancer, chronic pain and epilepsy.

It was approved by the House with a vote 59 to 34.

Nemes shared his personal experiences with patients and doctors as he tried to get support for the bill.

“I’ll never forget this mother leaning forward and touching my hand. She told me what it meant to her child, and they all went around the room and said what it meant to them,” Nemes said. “And I thought, here’s good people, real good people, and I disagree with them. It was then that I began to doubt it. I talked to physicians, did a lot of research on the issue.”

The bill was not approved by the state Senate. This is also controlled by Republicans. This is almost the same scenario as 2020 when the Kentucky State House passed a legal cannabis bill, only to have it blocked by the state Senate.

Robert Stivers (the president of Kentucky’s state Senate) was skeptical about the bill and dismissed it from the very beginning, stating that the legislature had run out of time for legislation with such significance.

According to Louisville Courier Journal, Stivers “remains opposed to legalizing medical marijuana, saying that while he’s seen research showing marijuana could have a positive effect on patients with spasticity, nausea and joint inflammation, he says those studies had small sample sizes and duration — while he’s seen others showing negative side effects.”

More recently, Stivers has expressed doubt that lawmakers have enough time to get the bill over the line, with the assembly’s 60-day session winding down.

On Thursday, Stivers said “it would be difficult” to pass the bill when lawmakers return for the final two days of the legislative session next week, according to the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported that Stivers has “touted another pending bill that would create a cannabis research center at the University of Kentucky to study the use of cannabis to treat certain medical conditions.”

“Most definitely, I think there is that desire to help individuals,” Stivers said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “But with any drug, I think you need to have the full-blown studies.”

“That would give us the impetus to come back maybe within a year and say this is what marijuana could be used for or not be used for,” Stivers added, according to the Associated Press.

Enter Beshear who is a forceful advocate for the legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Beshear suggested on Thursday that he might resort to executive actions on the subject, but he again asked lawmakers to send a bill directly to his desk.

“You see people from every part of every spectrum that are in favor of this,” Beshear said, as quoted by the Associated Press.