Medical Marijuana

The way forward is clear:  Kentucky needs to legalize medical marijuana.  As of July, 2018, thirty-one states have some form of medical marijuana (a/k/a "canabis").  There is considerable variation among the states as how it can be "produced and distributed, how it can be consumed, and what medical conditions it can be used for."  Notable scientific support exists for the use of cannabis in the treatment of PTSD, Crohn's, Colitis, epilepsy, and many other conditions.  Additionally, it can serve as a much needed source of revenue and reduce the strain on Kentucky's criminal justice budget.  There is substantial public support for medical cannabis with a national poll by Quinnipiac showing support at 94%. (Quinnipiac is rated as an "A-" among 397 polling firms.)

The Kentucky General Assembly considered a medical marijuana bill (HB 166) in the 2018 session. Twenty-five legislators sponsored the bill but the Judiciary Committee failed to take action. Governor Bevin opposed medical marijuana because of "overdoses."  His remark is contrary to a  DEA report finding no marijuana overdoses for 2017.  In March of 2018, the Henderson City Commission unanimously passed a resolution calling for the legalization of medical cannabis in Kentucky.  Importantly, a local community would have the choice as to whether a medical cannabis business could be located there.  

Cannabis is an effective treatment for a wide array of ailments and it is often a safer alternative than many prescription drugs, such as opioids. Every day we permit physicians to use their discretion to authorize the use of medications that pose far greater risks than does marijuana. We should allow doctors to similarly use their discretion to recommend cannabis therapy, and the law should not unduly interfere with the doctor/patient relationship. Rob will work to pass a responsible medical marijuana law that preserves public safety, but defers to physicians and patients regarding its use in the treatment and care of their medical conditions.


National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017).

Brad Staton, "Medical Cannabis Bill a Plea for Compassion," Henderson Gleaner (March 15, 2018).

Americans for Safe Access

Drug Enforcement Administration, Drugs of Abuse (2017).

HB 166 (2018)

 Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana

Kevin P. Hill, "Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems," JAMA (2015)(finding the "[u]se of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence").

Kevin P. Hill, "Medical Marijuana Use Does Not Increase Adolescent Marijuana Use," Lancet (2015).