A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rep. Diane St. Onge and Rep. Jason Nemes file bill in state legislature to allow medical use of cannabis

State Representatives Diane St. Onge and Jason Nemes, majority party members, filed legislation today to give Kentucky practitioners the ability to recommend cannabis for their patients’ medicinal needs.

The legislation provides legal access to cannabis to those who are suffering from diseases like seizures, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or those with chronic pain like that of a spinal cord injury.

Medical cannabis is a choice 33 states have granted their constituents; giving 66% of the U.S. population safe, legal access to medical marijuana. The Medicaid & Medicare data in those states indicates an 11% reduction in opioid prescriptions per year. That’s on average 1,826 fewer opioids prescriptions per physician translating to a 24.8% reduction in overdose drug deaths per year as reported by JAMA in August 2014.

Rep. St. Onge


The bill provides tight regulations.

It calls for patients to register with their local sheriffs if they choose to cultivate it for themselves. All those involved must sign a binding letter pledging not to divert cannabis or otherwise face criminal charges. The Kentucky Department of Cannabis Control must approve everyone involved including the doctors, patients, and business entities wanting to get involved in the new industry. The industry includes those who grow it, process it, package it, label it, check it for quality, and those who dispense it. The Department is there to verify compliance and to regulate the licensees. The chain of control includes record keeping, safety, security, prevention of diversion, and product packaging & labeling.

It also requires that cannabis products sold at state-licensed dispensaries must be quality control tested by a Safety Compliance Facility which is a third party state-licensed entity that will verify if the products meet the state-mandated standards. Owners cannot own any stake in another cannabis business license and must remain completely independent.

The same holds for practitioners, as they cannot operate nor own any part of a cannabis business license if they intend to recommend cannabis to Kentucky’s patients.

Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, KY4MM, said it wholeheartedly supports and endorses this legislation.

In a press release, KY4MM said “We feel the proposed regulations will be a strong foundation for the program and it will allow patients the choice to try medicinal cannabis in a safe quality controlled manner with public safety at the forefront. These business regulations are also intended to deter use by minors and prevent accidental ingestion by those without a practitioner recommendation. This legislation will have a positive and far-reaching effect for Kentucky and its sick and disabled citizens.”

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5 Comments

  1. Wendy Murphy says:

    Pleas, please pass this bill and implement this program quickly. There are many people who are and have been suffering in which medical marijuana would greatly help them. But, because they are law abiding citizens, have refrained from participating when it is not legal. They are so many stronger, more harmful drugs that are found in abundance which causes deadly side effects. Please give these suffering people relief and positively keep big Pharma out of this equation. Thank you for your support.

  2. William Woodside says:

    As a husband of a suffering wife with chronic pain generated by an extensive open heart surgery, bi-lateral mastectomy and scar tissue, I implore you to quickly pass and implement this bill. She has been advised by Ohio and KY doctors that this would give her relief. Living with chronic pain is not “living.”. Thank you so much
    for your vision and consideration.

  3. Jeremiah says:

    Hb 136 is a Medical Cannabis Privilege for Profit Bill.
    Too many Restrictions..it will cost too much.

    Kentucky Senate Bill SB 80 is for Cannabis Freedom in Kentucky!

    Show Support for SB 80!

  4. Tom Rector says:

    Your “facts” are inaccurate. The 1826 number is individual opioid pills, not prescriptions. The 24.8% reduction is in the RATE not total overdoses. Fatal overdoses in states with medical cannabis have leveled off, not dropped by 25%.

  5. Denise says:

    It would be awesome! The only bad thing is that there are few key legislators in Kentucky that won’t allow anything to pass regarding cannabis. I think that there should be a constitutional amendment and allow the citizens of Kentucky to vote on it on Election Day. Because I don’t think that one or two people should hold a whole state hostage and that’s what’s been going on for the last seven or eight years. It was going on when I was up there in Frankfort fighting for medical marijuana and it’s still going on. Senator Dan Seum is a good guy…That Robert Stivers guy, he’s an — and Robert Benvenuti is as bad if not worse.

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