LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Advocating for medical marijuana isn't something C.J. Carter takes lightly. As Kentucky's state director for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Carter said legalization is his mission.

"Cannabis as a whole has the potential to change the future for the state of Kentucky," he said. "It's time that we expand our outlook."

Kentucky has made steps recently toward legalization. Senate Bill 47 cleared the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee on an 8-3 vote Tuesday before it was sent to the full Senate, which voted 26-11 to pass the bill Thursday evening. It now heads back to the House for a reading before it would be sent to Gov. Andy Beshear's desk.

Medical marijuana legalization bills died in past years on the Senate side without even getting a committee hearing. And while this is further than it's gone, Carter said there are some areas where SB 47 lacks, specifically when it comes to decriminalizing marijuana and addressing social equity.

"Social equity is addressing and righting the wrongs that have been caused from the trauma associated with the war on drugs," Carter said. "In terms of implementing social equity, what that entails is allocating a certain percentage of the applications for minorities, specifically black folks, in terms of getting a percentage of, say, the dispensary license or cultivation license or processing license."

Under the measure, medical cannabis could be prescribed for a list of conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea and post-traumatic stress disorder. A person would have to be approved for a card allowing its use. A patient under 18 couldn’t possess or acquire medical cannabis without assistance from a designated caregiver.

Most notably, the bill wouldn’t take effect until the start of 2025, to allow state health officials time to craft regulations to oversee the program, said Republican Sen. Stephen West, the bipartisan bill's lead sponsor.

As opposed to Carter's stance, David Walls with The Family Foundation of Kentucky said the bill doesn't fall short. In fact, he said it completely drops the ball on keeping Kentuckians safe.

"Senate Bill 47 legalizes marijuana in the medical context but still legalizes marijuana for children," Walls said. "There are not age restrictions." 

The Family Foundation strongly opposes legalizing medical marijuana.

"As we sit here right now, the FDA still considers it an illegal drug," Walls said.

Walls and his team will fight against SB 47, but Carter and his will fight for it, hoping for even more down the line.

"We need to progress this conversation," Carter said.

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