LOUISVILLE, KY — Kentucky Senator Perry Clark plans to pre-file a bill for the 2014 legislative session to legalize medical marijuana in the state, and members of the Health and Welfare committee will hold a public hearing on the measure August 21.
The bill is expected to be formally introduced in January when the full legislature reconvenes for the 60-day 2014 legislative session.
Senator Clark (D-Louisville) filed similar legislation in 2012 and 2013, but the bills failed died in committees without ever receiving a hearing.
The bills were both titled the “Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act,” named after the late marijuana advocate Gatewood Galbraith.
The two previous bills would have reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II substance available for medical treatment under a doctor’s direction, and would have allowed patients to possess up to 5 ounces of marijuana or cultivate up to five plants for their own medicinal use.
The bills also stipulated that any plants a patient is growing can not be taxed under state law.
Senator Clark expects the bill to be presented before the full legislature for debate in 2014, and is hopeful for a vote.
Clark says he has been fighting to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky after many of his elderly constituents reached out to him, saying they are already using marijuana for pain relief, and want legal, safe access to medical cannabis.
“I am about getting access to natural medicine and compassionate medicine to as my Kentuckians as I can get that to,” Clark told WDRB-TV.
Clark added that his physician recommended cannabis to help alleviate his own back pain.
The bill, which will be pre-filed before the August 21 hearing, will be formally introduced in January 2014.