States to Watch in 2021: Kentucky

In advance of the 2021 legislative sessions, NORML will be providing a more detailed break down of legislative efforts in various states across the nation that are poised to enact significant marijuana reforms next year. This is the latest in a series of blogs examining where state-specific reform efforts stand.

Democratic Governor Andy Beshear urged lawmakers earlier this month to move past partisan politics and pass legislation in the 2021 legislative session to allow patient access to medical marijuana.

Earlier in 2020, the Republican-led House overwhelmingly approved House Bill 136, a measure that would have permitted access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients with a physician’s approval. However, it never received consideration in the Senate.

Rep. Jason Nemes, the lead sponsor of the House medical marijuana bill, is not losing hope, optimistic that support from lawmakers in the House in 2021 “will be even stronger than it was last year” and that “the votes are there” in the state Senate to enact reform.

Rep. Nemes plans to file the medical marijuana bill on day 1 of the 2021 legislative session, which begins on January 5, 2020.

According to statewide polling data, 90 percent of Kentucky residents support regulating medical marijuana access.

If you live in Kentucky, send a message to your lawmakers now in support of medical cannabis access.