Kentucky: Gov Beshear to allow medical cannabis use for treatment of severe medical conditions

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that Kentucky residents with severe medical conditions will be allowed to use medical cannabis for treatment starting next year.

In an executive order, the governor outlined the following conditions that Kentuckians with at least one of 21 medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, muscular dystrophy or a terminal illness, must meet to access medical cannabis beginning Jan. 1, 2023:

Cannabis must be bought in the United States of America in a state where the purchase is legal and regulated. Kentuckians will need to keep their receipt.
The amount a person can purchase and possess at any one time must not exceed 8 ounces, which is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Kentucky.
Each Kentuckian must also have a certification from a licensed health care provider that shows that the individual has been diagnosed with at least one of 21 medical conditions. A copy of the certification must be retained.

Those that meet the requirements will be able to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions.

“Kentuckians suffering from chronic and terminal conditions are going to be able to get the treatment they need without living in fear of a misdemeanor,” Beshear said. “With 37 states already legalizing medical cannabis and 90% of Kentucky adults supporting it, I am doing what I can to provide access and relief to those who meet certain conditions and need it to better enjoy their life, without pain.”

In addition, the governor said that guidance is being created for law enforcement to determine quickly and accurately who does and does not qualify.

He added that today’s actions are not a substitute for legislation to fully legalize medical cannabis.

Beshear stated that he will work with lawmakers this upcoming session to push for full legalization of medical cannabis once again, which the governor’s office says would further provide relief for those suffering, fuel job growth and support Kentucky’s farmers.

The governor also announced that the state will regulate the sale of Delta 8. Delta 8 contains THC but at a lower level than marijuana. It is not a controlled substance in Kentucky nor under federal law, and a court has ruled that it is legal in Kentucky.

“Right now, there are no checks on how it is packaged and sold. We must establish a regulatory structure to ensure that Delta 8 is sold and purchased safely in the commonwealth,” Beshear said. “The structure can and will also serve as a template for when the General Assembly fully legalizes medical cannabis. That means we can learn in real-time, train our people and be ready to go.”


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