- Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — After years of setbacks, medical marijuana advocates cleared a historic hurdle Thursday when the Kentucky House voted to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The measure won House passage on a 65-30 vote after a long debate, sending the proposal to the Senate. Republicans control both chambers.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Jason Nemes, said it would become the country’s “tightest medical marijuana” program if it becomes law.

The measure would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis and set up a regulatory framework for patients to obtain it at approved dispensaries. Smoking medical cannabis would not be permitted under the bill. Consumption could take place through such forms as pills and oils.

“Like any medicine, it works for some; for some others it may not be the best thing,” said Democratic Rep. Al Gentry. “But let’s let the patient and their caregiver make that decision. I think they’re capable of doing that.”

In opposing the bill, Republican Rep. Stan Lee warned that legalizing medical cannabis would be the start of efforts by cannabis advocates to further relax marijuana restrictions.

“We’re being asked to pass something that I fear will not be the end of it,” he said.

Medical marijuana is already legal in 33 states.

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