Sen. John Schickel, chair of the state Senate Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations, has announced that a bipartisan panel of state legislators will meet this summer to hear the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
The panel, known as the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations, will tackle the issue during its July gathering. The meeting is open to the public and will take place at 10 a.m. on July 8 in the Capitol Annex, Room 129.
Schickel said a bill on the legalization of marijuana was one of the more controversial measures assigned to his committee during the 2016 Regular Session.
The legislation, known as Senate Bill 13, would have regulated the cultivation, testing, processing, taxing and sale of marijuana to people 21 and over.
“I received 20 to 40 telephone calls, emails and tweets per day on SB 13,” said Schickel, R-Union. “Overwhelmingly the messages were in support for the legalization of marijuana. For this reason it is important that we thoroughly vet this important issue before the 2017 legislative session.”
The preliminary agenda includes presentations by law enforcement, medical marijuana advocates and the scientific community. Dr. Gregory Barnes of the University of Louisville medical school is scheduled to talk about research into the use of cannabidiol, known as CBD, to treat epileptic seizures in children.
Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, will speak about using cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis. Representatives of the Kentucky Medical Association and law enforcement community are also set to give presentations.
Tom Hewlett, committee staff administrator for Licensing and Occupations, will manage the agenda. He can be contacted by phone at 502-564-8100 or by email at Tom.Hewlett@lrc.ky.gov.
While SB 13 never made it to the Senate floor for a vote, Schickel said the issue remains relevant and that legislators want to further research the issue prior to the start of next year’s session in January.
There will be a sign-in sheet for people who would like to speak at the interim joint committee hearing in July.
People who would like to submit material for consideration by the committee must provide 60 copies in advance to: Legislative Research Commission; Licensing & Occupations, Capitol Annex Room 18; 702 Capitol Ave.; Frankfort, KY 40601.