Bill would expand who is eligible to get medical marijuana in Kentucky. Would you qualify?

New medical marijuana legislation introduced in Kentucky’s Senate Friday would extend the treatment option to a much broader range of conditions, including some the state’s current medical marijuana law leaves out.

Introduced by Republican state Sen. Stephen West of Paris, Senate Bill 337 would expand the current list of conditions from six to 21.

Under Kentucky’s medical marijuana law, set to go into effect next year, only residents with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic nausea or vomiting, cancer, severe or chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder can qualify for the program.

According to Louisville Public Media, the first to report Friday’s development, the bill’s author has been meeting with state officials tasked with launching Kentucky’s medical marijuana program to get their input and “blessing.”

The Herald-Leader has reached out to West for comment about the legislation.

So what comes next for the Senate bill and what changes could it make? Here’s what to know.

Who qualifies for a medical marijuana card under Kentucky’s new law? What we know so far

What conditions would qualify for medical marijuana under the bill?

Senate Bill 337, introduces an expanded list of qualifying conditions, including:

  1. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

  2. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease

  3. Arthritis

  4. Cachexia or wasting syndrome

  5. Cancer, regardless of type, form or stage

  6. Chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome resistant to treatment

  7. Chronic, severe intractable or debilitating pain

  8. Epilepsy and other intractable seizure disorders

  9. Fibromyalgia

  10. Glaucoma

  11. Hepatitis C

  12. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

  13. Huntington’s disease

  14. Irritable bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

  15. Multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, spasticity

  16. Muscular dystrophy

  17. Neuropathies

  18. Parkinson’s disease

  19. Post-traumatic stress disorder

  20. Sickle cell disease

  21. Terminal illnesses

The legislation also grants latitude to the Kentucky Center for Cannabis at the University of Kentucky to add to the list of qualifying conditions, provided there is “sufficient scientific data and evidence exists to demonstrate that an individual diagnosed with that condition or disease is likely to receive medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefits from the use of medicinal cannabis.”

What’s next for the bill and what are its chances of passing into law?

SB 337 has been referred to the chamber’s health services committee, and the legislation will need three reads before it can get a full vote in the Senate.

It may face a difficult path to passage, given it is much more permissive than its predecessor, Senate Bill 47.

The new legislation also closely follows the original list of qualifying conditions Gov. Andy Beshear included in his 2022 executive order on the issue. Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly may not be willing to endorse that list.

Note: This story was updated at 9:55 a.m. March 5 to correctly identify irritable bowel disease as a qualifying condition.

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