Kentucky legislators will soon have a floor vote on whether to advance the study of cannabis use for medical treatment.
The House Education Committee approved House Bill 463, which would establish the Kentucky Center for Cannabis Research at the University of Kentucky. UK could receive up to $4 million from the General Assembly over the next two fiscal years. The center would cannabis research on a variety of topics, everything from pharmaceutical development to clinical studies to trials and review potential risks or side effects.
“It’s important that cannabis be researched for its effectiveness as a medication and that physicians understand how to dose and prescribe it,” Sponsor Kim Moser told the Lexington Herald Leader. “It’s critical researchers and prescribers know what the indications are ... and most of all, that patients get what they think they are getting.”
Moser said the bill doesn’t take a position on cannabis legalization but creates a structure for research that could potentially help patients. University of Kentucky has already been approved by the National Institutes of Health to research cannabis and is currently studying its effects on young adults, those while driving and interactions between cannabis and opioids.
Under the proposed legislation, UK would establish an internal advisory board, employ a director and staff and accept grants and donations. A university director said the center would incorporate multiple departments internally and potentially other Kentucky universities.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives voted in favor of House Bill 136 to legalize medical cannabis for patients. Legislators have also introduced legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis and plans for where the tax and licensing proceeds should be spent.