Expediting Responsible Marijuana Research - House Concurrent Resolution 5

2020 General Assembly

By Rep. Danny Bentley: This resolution (HCR 5) urges the Federal Government to reschedule and expedite the study of the possible medical benefits of marijuana using evidence-based science. The resolution addresses several issues blocking potential medicines from being made safely available to Kentucky citizens. The Federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. As a result there has been little grant money or marijuana legally available for researchers to conduct the normal study, and clinical trials necessary to safely develop, dose and deliver medicines. This resolution would urge the federal government to correct that.

The majority of licensed health care practitioners who serve in the legislature support HCR 5 as the best path forward regarding legalizing any form of medical marijuana and it is the only marijuana bill sponsored by a health care practitioner (a pharmacist and university pharmacy professor).

Note: A similar measure passed the House in 2018 with a vote of 73 to 5 but was not heard in the Senate.

Advocates say: The Kentucky legislature should not try to do the job of the Federal Food and Drug  Administration (FDA). Even though marijuana has been around a long time it has not been studied properly. Opioids were also around a long time but were not properly researched before doctors began routinely prescribing. (And look what happened.) The FDA is now designed specifically for the purpose of determining what medications are safe and effective, what dosages should be used and what the contraindications are. (When medications/conditions interact negatively.) A number of marijuana derivatives are already available through proper research and development practices and other effective and well-researched medications are now or will be available shortly to treat the medical conditions for which patients need marijuana.

Opponents say: Marijuana has been around a long time, therefore we don’t need any more time to study it. Other states have legalized it. Kentucky citizens should not have to wait any longer. Patients want help

and shouldn’t be made to suffer needlessly. Marijuana is no worse than alcohol, why shouldn’t marijuana be legal for adults? Adults should be free to choose marijuana if they want, as

long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. This is also an economic issue. If people can’t get marijuana in Kentucky they will go to other states to find it. By doing so, Kentucky will lose out on the revenue that would be generated and that could be used to fund pensions.

Prospect of Passage: Because it passed the House in 2018 it should pass the House again this year. The question is “Will the Senate consider it?”

Note: Four other bills have been introduced to actually legalize marijuana without any of the normal medical research. Two are HB 136 and SB 107, which would legalize so-called “medical marijuana” without FDA research or approval. Similarly, there are HB 148 and SB 105, which would legalize “recreational marijuana” and make it readily available across the state with no concerns about medical issues.

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