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Gov. Beshear signs executive orders regarding medical marijuana in Kentucky

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Posted at 2:39 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 16:23:53-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Beshear has signed two executive orders associated with medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Starting next year, Kentuckians with certain severe medical conditions and who meet specific requirements will be able to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions.


Gov. Beshear signs executive orders regarding medical marijuana in Kentucky

#1: Allowing Qualified People to Use Medical Marijuana

The governor's first executive order will allow certain Kentuckians to use medical marijuana that was purchased in a state where it is legal. Gov. Beshear outlined conditions that Kentuckians with at least one of 21 medical conditions must meet to access medical cannabis beginning January 1, 2023. Medical conditions include cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, muscular dystrophy, or a terminal illness.

Other conditions to allow the use of medical marijuana in Kentucky 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 healthcare 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.

"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," Gov. 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."

Read the first executive order here:

Gov. Beshear said that guidance is being created for law enforcement to determine quickly and accurately who does and does not qualify.

The actions are not a substitute for legislation to fully legalize medical cannabis, Gov. Beshear said. He said he would work with lawmakers this upcoming session to push for the full legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky.

#2: Sale Regulation of Delta 8

Gov. Beshear also signed a second executive order that would start the sale regulation of Delta 8, a substance found in the Cannabis sativa plant. 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,” Gov. 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.”

Read the second executive order here:

The executive orders come after Gov. Beshear an advisory committee associated with medical cannabis. The committee spoke to Kentuckians on the issue across the state after the state legislature failed to pass legislation earlier this year. The findings from the committee found that Kentuckians agreed it is time for the state to take action on legalizing medical marijuana.

"This is not a red or blue issue," said Gov. Beshear. "It is about our people and helping those who are in pain and suffering."