Medical marijuana legalization is making its way through the Commonwealth of Kentucky's legislature with House Bill 166, which enjoys the support of both Republicans and Democrats in the Kentucky legislature, and would allow patients with certain conditions to consume the plant or products made from it.
HB 166 is also backed by Kentucky's Secretary of State Alison Grimes, one of the main officials behind the bill. According to Jaime Montalvo with Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, health conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Kentucky range from cancer to PTSD among many others.
While the bill enjoys bipartisan support in Frankfort and a strong endorsement from the Louisville Metro Council (which voted 20-4 to endorse legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky), it stalled last week in the House Judiciary Committee which may take it up again later in the 2018 session, which ends mid-April.
In a statement Friday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul weighed in to endorse the bill to legalize medical marijuana in his home state:
"I believe decisions on how to regulate cannabis should be left to state governments. I support passage of HB 166. I believe that patients suffering from medical illness should have the right to try cannabis."
A Republican with a course-charting independent streak, Rand Paul challenges his party to remain true to the Constitution and the American spirit of individualism when it comes to civil liberties, while defying the president and congressional leadership to remain the most stalwart defender of the GOP's professed fiscal conservatism.
The Bluegrass State would be the 31st to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Still it lags behind overall support for marijuana legalization for any purpose, which is presently at an all time high in America.
Two out of three independent voters support marijuana legalization, and the percentage of non-partisan voter support for legalizing marijuana has tracked closely with the relatively higher percentage of supporters among Democrats over the years since 2004, a year in which independents were far ahead of Democrats as well as Republicans in supporting marijuana legalization.
Although today a majority of voters in both parties and among the non-affiliated are in favor, with a majority of Republican voters– at 51 percent (up nine percent over 2016)– supporting marijuana legalization for the first time last year. (Source: Gallup)