Marijuana bill sent to Senate after historic vote

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 18:19:18-05

FRANKFORT, Ky (LEX 18) — After years of setbacks, medical marijuana supporters watched a historic vote happen on Thursday. The Kentucky House voted 65-30 in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, sending the bill - House Bill 136 - forward to the Senate.

As the votes were being cast, supporters watched nervously.

"(My heart) was pounding out of my chest," said Jaime Montalvo, the founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana. "I was so excited, nervous - all at the same time."

It was a moment supporters had been waiting years for, but as it happened, all they could do was hope for best.

"Oh my. I just hope we have the votes there," said Montalvo as he described the thoughts running through his mind at the time. "I hope that everyone who told us were yes votes would stand up for it."

After hours of emotional debate, lawmakers who promised to support the bill came through. It was the first time in Kentucky's history a medical marijuana bill was not only voted on in the House, but also passed in the House.

"This is a big day. This is history," said Eric Crawford, a medical marijuana advocate. "We passed the House in the state of Kentucky. Onward to the Senate."

Some supporters got emotional thinking about the possibility of the bill actually becoming law.

"To know that I get another day to do what I need to do and not worry about having to go to jail, my wife not going to jail again - that's what it means to me," said Brenton Goss, a medical marijuana supporter. "It's time to put an end to this craziness. Let us have the medicine we deserve."

Despite the happy emotions, supporters stopped short from calling the moment a celebration. They say their fight is still not over and they know it'll likely be a tougher challenge to get a vote in the Senate.

"This isn't done. This isn't done. We'll be here next week," said Crawford. "We'll be here tomorrow but we'll be here next week getting meetings with Senators - trying to persuade them to vote yes."