FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2018) – A bill introduced in the Kentucky House would legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state, setting the foundation to nullify unconstitutional federal cannabis prohibition in practice.

A coalition of 15 Democratic Party representatives introduced House Bill 166 (HB166) on Jan. 10. The legislation would legalize cannabis for medicinal purpose and create an extensive regulatory framework. Under the proposed law, patients with certain qualifying conditions would be issued a medical marijuana card and could obtain cannabis at certified “compassion centers.” The bill would also allow qualified patients to grow up to 12 plants in a locked and enclosed facility.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has thrown her weight behind the effort, saying “Kentuckians are begging for an alternative to opioids and prescriptions.”

“Today is a real gut check for every member of the General Assembly. Will they stand up for the citizens of Kentucky or are they merely going to sit in silence?”

Passage of HB166 will have a difficult path in the Republican-dominated legislature. Republican leadership is pushing a resolution (HCR 34) calling on the feds to “expedite research on the safety and effectiveness of the use of medical marijuana for certain health purposes.” The resolution passed the House 73-5 Wednesday.

Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as HB166 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.


Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky would remove one layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.

Statistics from attorneys at Nehora Law Firm show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing state prohibition, Kentucky could sweep away some of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.


Kentucky could join a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization passed last year.

With 29 states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.

“The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people and enough Paid Research Studies Near Me say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.


HB166 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it must pass by a majority vote before moving to the House floor for a vote.



Mike Maharrey

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