FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that a new cannabis research center won’t slow his review of whether he has the authority to legalize medical marijuana – a decision likely to come this summer.
The Democratic governor said he sees value in the cannabis center’s formation, but said some lawmakers used it as a tactic to successfully stall a bill that would have made medical marijuana legal. Beshear said he won’t wait for the center’s work before deciding whether to take action.
“I think we need to move toward legalization, even as the center gets up and going,” Beshear said at his weekly news conference. “There’s a lot of research out there already. It’s OK that we want to be a part of future research. But it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to stall that momentum.”
He laid out a timetable for his review, which could lead to executive action within a few months.
Beshear instructed his legal team to analyze potential options for executive action that could create a framework to make medical cannabis available for people suffering from certain medical ailments.
His office has gotten 1,100 responses since setting up a website recently to receive public comment, and a medical cannabis advisory committee being formed will start gathering public input in May, the governor said. That will culminate in a decision expected sometime this summer on whether he takes executive action on the long-running issue, he said.