Kentucky is expanding access to medical Marijuana

Kentucky is expanding access to medical Marijuana

Kentucky’s political leaders are rapidly moving to expand access to medical marijuana to those who have debilitating health conditions, like chronic pain, epilepsy and more.

In a matter of months, the governor has rolled out an executive order and lawmakers in the General Assembly have also passed a law that will eventually establish a medical cannabis program in the commonwealth.

Here’s a review of where medical marijuana stands in Kentucky and a guide to our coverage to help you navigate the legalities of medical marijuana, including who qualifies to use it and what requirements you must meet.

New KY law will usher in Medical Cannabis cards by 2025

By 2025, residents of Kentucky will be able to apply for and carry a medical marijuana card, provided they have a qualifying medical condition certified by a doctor.

That’s due to new legislation passed by Kentucky’s GOP-dominated legislature and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who’s been an advocate for medical marijuana since early in his term.

Still, the law has some caveats, chief of which is cardholders are not allowed to use marijuana by smoking it.

Senate Bill 47 overcame opposition from some Republican holdouts concerned it would expose impressionable children to marijuana and potentially put Kentucky on the path toward recreational legalization. But the bill’s supporters disagreed, arguing it provides oversight and could address the state’s problems with opioid addiction.

“One of the prime reasons I sponsored this bill and moved it along is addiction,” said Republican state Sen. Stephen West, of Paris. “Other states who have this option have seen not only a 20-30% reduction in opioid use, but also a 20-30% reduction in drug addiction.”

Executive order grants limited access to medical Marijuana

Kentuckians eligible for medical marijuana won’t be able to purchase it in-state until the new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2025.

In the meantime, an executive order from Kentucky’s governor that allows state residents to travel and purchase small amounts of medical cannabis will remain in effect.

Beshear’s order lays out several requirements, including that the person must be able to prove they have at least one of 21 qualifying medical conditions, like cancer, chronic pain and terminal illnesses, among others.

In an interview with the Herald-Leader, Beshear noted, “all you have to do to qualify under the order from the certification piece is to have a doctor certify that you have epilepsy or Parkinson’s or Crohn’s disease or multiple sclerosis” or any of the other listed conditions.

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Region: Kentucky


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