FRANKFORT — A bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana by Kentuckians with certain medical conditions cleared the House Health and Welfare Committee on a 9-5 vote Thursday.
If House Bill 350 becomes law, the use, distribution, and cultivation of medical marijuana would be permitted under Kentucky law to alleviate the symptoms of patients diagnosed by a medical provider with a debilitating medical condition. A licensing and registration system to allow the use, growth, and distribution of the drug would be established through protocols set out in HB 350, which is sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville.
Conditions that would be allowed to be treated with medical marijuana under HB 350 include a terminal illness, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia, cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive status, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, diabetes, fibromyalgia, autism, ulcerative colitis, injuries that significantly interfere with daily activities, treatment of specific symptoms of a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or other medical conditions added by the state.
While the use, sale, and possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law, the laws of 20 states and the District of Columbia currently allow the use and cultivation of medical marijuana, according to the HB 350.
Marzian said she has heard from citizens across the state “that this is something that could possibly relieve, if not alleviate and eradicate, symptoms of many, many diseases and conditions.”
Among those voting against the bill was Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, who explained he feels the legislation would allow the “notion of medical marijuana” with a lack of prescribing guidelines or thorough study. “These are the things have to be studied,” said Benvenuti. “We can work together to try to encourage the FDA to do true clinical trials in this area.”
HB 350 now goes to the full House for further action.