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Kentucky: Baptists Fight Off Push To Legalize Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Kentucky Baptists may have won a major legislative victory by helping to defeat a measure in the General Assembly that would have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, but they managed to give themselves a public relations black eye in the process, showing themselves to both be out of touch with modern medical research, and severely lacking in compassion, as well.

Almost as distressing as the fact that they were able to stop this compassionate legislation in its tracks is the fact that these heaven-dazed idiots were proud of themselves for doing it.

Legislators finished the 2015 session early Wednesday morning without passing a bill which would have made cannabis available for medical purposes.

Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who apparently was determined to flaunt his ignorance in front of large numbers of people, had called on lawmakers to reject the proposal, claiming Kentucky shouldn't follow the lead of other states that have done the same.

The KBC is Kentucky's largest religious organization, and as such has a powerful voice in the state, where 1 million of the state's 4.4 million residents self identify as Southern Baptists. Those demographics -- which correlate strongly with conservative political positions -- filter into the Legislature, where almost half the Senate and a third of the House identify themselves as Baptists.

Kentucky: Medical Marijuana Doubtful In Legislature Despite Popular Support


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he plans to file a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session to allow medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State, but he says its chances are slim.

Outright opposition to medicinal cannabis among lawmakers has softened, reports Gregory A. Hall at The Courier-Journal, but many lawmakers just haven't yet discovered the courage to vote for it.

"I think it's going to get some play this session; I don't know how much," said Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg).

The steady progress of medical marijuana legislation in other states is seen as increasing the likelihood for positive change in Kentucky. State residents expressed support for medical marijuana in Bluegrass Polls for the past two years.

Last session, timid lawmakers passed a no-risk "CBD-only" law that allows non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil to be used to control seizures. Two bills to allow broader medical marijuana use died, including one in the House that made it out of the Health and Welfare Committee before dying in the Judiciary Committee.

Kentucky: Hemp Bill Passes In Final Hour

(Photo: Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An amended bill to legalize industrial hemp production by Kentucky farmers -- if the federal government allows it -- was passed by the Kentucky Legislature in the final minutes of this year's regular session.

The Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission remains in the state Department of Agriculture, with only research functions of the bill assigned to the University of Kentucky, according to the terms of the compromise, reports Gregory A. Hall at the Louisville Courier-Journal. The last point of contention had been a try by House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook) to put the Hemp Commission under the authority of the University.

That had proven to be a deal breaker for bill sponsor Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville) and its chief backer, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

In fact, Comer had left the Capitol under the impression the hemp bill was dead. He returned late Tuesday when he learned Adkins wanted to continue the talks.

"We're very satisfied with the bill," Comer said. The next step, according to Comer, will be working with Kentucky's federal lawmakers to get a DEA waiver for a pilot project to grow industrial hemp in the state.

Public pressure to pass the hemp bill helped achieve the last-minute deal, according to Comer.

The bill passed the House as amended, 88-4, with Comer, a former House member, watching from the chamber floor. The Senate approved the compromise 35-1.

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