Bashir expects a space for some procedures on medical cannabis | Health and fitness

    By Bruce Schreiner – The Associated Press

    FRANKFURT, Kentucky (AP) – Governor Andy Beshear appeared increasingly confident Thursday that he will have leeway to take “at least some executive action” to make medical marijuana legal in Kentucky.

    The governor’s strongest signal yet was that he might single-handedly allow medical marijuana to Kentucky citizens with certain medical conditions. His prediction comes as his legal team reviews its options on a long-standing issue that has stalled in the legislature.

    The Democratic governor first brought up the possibility of executive action about a month ago, and since then the latest law to legalize medical marijuana has passed away in the Republican-controlled Senate.

    “The legal analysis has not been completed yet, but I think there will be room for at least some enforcement action,” Bashir said Thursday when asked for an update at his weekly press conference.

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    The governor asserts that legalizing medical cannabis has strong support among Kentucky residents. On Thursday, he did not specify what measures he might have at his disposal to make it legally available.

    The governor said, “Whatever steps we can take, we want them to be clear. We want them to serve a purpose. It’s not a backdoor way to allow recreational marijuana. So we want to make sure we’re doing it right.”

    “There are people who are suffering” who could benefit from medicinal cannabis, Bashir said. He said he recently spoke with a woman whose son suffers from PTSD after multiple deployments with the military.

    “This is the kind of help we should be providing,” the governor said.

    Bashir did not offer a new timetable for a decision, having previously said a decision could come this summer on possible enforcement action. He instructed his legal team to analyze potential options for enforcement action that could create a framework for the legalization of medical cannabis in the state.

    The governor’s office has created a website for public comment on the issue, and a medical cannabis advisory committee is being formed to gather public input.

    “The challenge is that there are thousands of people who want to be a part because there are thousands of people who feel very, very strongly about this issue,” he said.

    A bill intended to allow Kentucky to join the majority of states that legalized medical marijuana passed the Kentucky House this year but died in the Senate. Republicans have an overwhelming majority in both houses. The bill was to strictly regulate cannabis use for a list of eligible conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy and chronic nausea.

    Instead, the procedure for establishing a cannabis research center at the University of Kentucky won final approval from lawmakers. Key lawmakers resisting legalization of medical cannabis have pushed the center as an alternative. They said it would allow more time to study the effectiveness of marijuana in treating some diseases.

    The governor said he saw value in forming the cannabis center, but said he wouldn’t wait for him to do cannabis studies before deciding whether to take action.

    Bashir received opposition from some prominent Republicans for his executive action.

    Republican Senate President Robert Stevens recently said that Kentucky members should be concerned that the governor “believes he can change the law by executive order.”

    “He simply cannot legalize medical marijuana by executive order; you cannot replace a statue with an executive order because it is a constitutional violation of the separation of powers.”

    Bashir said he would prefer lawmakers to take action to legalize medical marijuana but said they failed to “get the job done.”

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