FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) — Kentucky is one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana.
A near-unanimous committee vote sends the bill to the House where a favorable vote is expected next week.
If the House approves, it will mark the farthest the medical marijuana issue has advanced in the Kentucky legislature.
Rep. Jason Nemes, of Louisville, challenged lawmakers to vote as if someone in their family needed cannabis for pain or some other kind of ailment.
“What would you do?” Nemes asked committee members. “I would break the law in a New York minute. I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life. I’ve never used an illegal drug. But I’d break the law in a second. And I would submit that every single person up there would do the same.”
Nemes also reminded committee members of widespread public support for medical marijuana, including support from veterans.
“Why do you think so many folks, so many men, of 40 year olds support this?" Nemes asked. "Because they are veterans. They went and fought for us. They’ve died for us. They bled and hurt for us. And it’s time for us to stand up for them.”
Critics of legalizing medical marijuana raised concerns about enforcement and the lack of scientific evidence of the medical benefits.
“Medical professionals must rely on medical-based research in order to properly prescribe any medication,” Kent Ostrander, Executive Director of the Family Foundation of Kentucky, said. “We cannot use anecdotal-based assumptions.”