Beshear relaxes restrictions on medical cannabis

Published 5:15 am Friday, November 25, 2022

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Kentucky Today

Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order on Tuesday allowing Kentuckians with certain severe medical conditions and who meet certain requirements to possess and use small counts of legally purchased medical cannabis.

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During a Capitol press conference, the governor said he took the action in an effort to reduce Kentuckians’ reliance on addictive opioids and to provide them relief from pain. “During my time as Attorney General, I listened and learned that for many Kentuckians suffering from chronic medical conditions, there is another way to manage the pain without the threat of addiction.”

In his executive order, Beshear outlined the 21 medical conditions, which include cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, muscular dystrophy or a terminal illness; as well as requirement that must be met to access medical cannabis beginning January 1, 2023. They include:

• 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.

“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,” he said.

He added that the executive order is not a substitute for much-needed legislation to fully legalize medical cannabis and said he will work with lawmakers this upcoming session to push for full legalization of medical cannabis once again.

Medical cannabis legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, has passed the House twice, but has never received a vote in the Senate.

Beshear also signed an executive order to 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 in northern Kentucky has ruled that it is legal in Kentucky.

You can read the executive order for the complete list of conditions for which medical marijuana will be allowed.

Here is a link to the executive order that says the state will regulate the sale of Delta 8.

The executive orders come after Gov. Beshear formed the a medical cannabis advisory committee in June, to travel the state and listen to Kentuckians’ views on the topic.