KY HB590 - AN ACT RELATING TO MEDICINAL CANNABIS
Introduced Session: 2023 Regular Session
Bill Summary: Create a new section of KRS Chapter 218A to define "cannabis"; require the Kentucky Center for Cannabis to establish criteria for determining when sufficient data exists to support the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes; permit the center to produce and dispense cannabis products to certain patients; permit the center to establish and operate cannabis dispensing centers throughout the state, exempt patients who receive cannabis products from the center from prosecution for a violation of KRS 218A.1421, 218A.1422, or 218A.1423.
Subject: Cannabis Drugs and Medicines Education, Higher Health and Medical Services
Sponsors (2): Kimberly Moser (R)*, Thomas Smith (R),
Medical cannabis has been a hot topic for legislators in Kentucky for the past several years, and Representative Kim Moser's bill, HB 590, has caused controversy among those who support it. The bill seeks to leave the decision on whether or not Kentucky gets a medical cannabis program up to the Kentucky Center on Cannabis, established by Moser in a previous session. However, the Center for Drug and Alcohol Research, which oversees the Center, has a history of demonizing cannabis and cannabinoids and spreading debunked Drug War propaganda.
The lead researcher at the Kentucky Center for Cannabis, Dr. Shanna Babalonis, has little experience with clinical studies and from all accounts has had a difficult time getting and retaining research subjects. Moreover, the research the Kentucky Center for Cannabis is currently doing is not novel or groundbreaking, but merely rehashing studies from other facilities with better funding and knowledge bases.
KY HB 590 is nothing more than bad-faith, self-serving legislation meant to continue denying the people of Kentucky access to cannabis. Despite more than 30,000 scientific and clinical studies on cannabis and cannabinoids in the last decade, this bill claims to determine whether sufficient scientific data and evidence exist to demonstrate the medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefits of cannabis.
House Bill 590 leaves all aspects of a medical cannabis program to the University of Kentucky through its related research departments, which has no experience in growing cannabis to scale, knowledge of the different cultivars and their uses for specific medical conditions, or setting up a distribution network. The decision for medical cannabis would be left in the hands of uninformed, unprepared, and unsuited unelected state employees who are beholden to their financiers from pharmaceutical, insurance, and anti-choice organizations.
We view this effort as waste of taxpayer money. At least $2 million is appropriated from Kentucky taxpayers, who will also fund the growing facilities, distribution, and implementation needs for a medical cannabis program. The trial and error research that will bring us no further to any understanding of the cannabis plant that hasn't already been done will be paid for by the Kentucky taxpayer.
Rep. Moser's HB 590 is not the reform that the people of Kentucky need. Instead of wasting time and money on a program that will likely fail, legislators should focus on the existing scientific data and industry standards for dosage guidelines and appropriate methods of consumption for cannabis. Instead of a big-government program taking the lead, private enterprises should have a role in growing, processing, and distributing cannabis, and legislators should not be beholden to special interest groups. The people of Kentucky deserve better.
KY HB 590