US (KY): Medical cannabis bill gains support of lawmaker who opposed it

Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville, who has been championing Kentucky medical cannabis legislation for the past few years, might have just achieved his biggest breakthrough yet — support from a powerful Senator who once opposed his bill.

For the 2022 General Assembly, Nemes filed House Bill 136, a restrictive, 138-page piece of legislation that would allow medical cannabis only for certain conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea or vomiting and post traumatic stress disorder. 

He introduced a similar bill during the 2020 session. It passed the House, but was never considered in the Senate, with several members of the chamber’s leadership skeptical of it. 

Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Republican from Hopkinsville, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was against Nemes’ medical cannabis bill that year. During the 2020 session, Westerfield told the Courier Journal, “I know it won’t get a hearing until I’m OK with it, and for sure I’ve still got questions right now.” On Tuesday, Westerfield tweeted out a statement saying that he will now support this year’s HB136, after several conversations with Nemes. 

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