Beshear: Kentuckians with severe medical conditions may use medical marijuana for treatment

Governor Andy Beshear is set to make an announcement on Tuesday on medical marijuana in the Commonwealth.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 4:42 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 1:49 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KFVS) - Governor Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday, November 15 that, starting in 2023, Kentuckians with certain severe medical conditions and who meet specific requirements will be able to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical marijuana as treatment.

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

These conditions 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.

Read the executive order for the complete list of 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,” Governor 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.”

He added that the executive order are not a substitute for much-needed legislation to fully legalize medical cannabis.

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

He also announced that the state will regulate the sale of Delta 8, which 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,” the governor 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.”

The executive orders come after Beshear formed the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee in June to travel the state and listen to Kentuckians’ views on the topic after the state legislature failed to pass legislation earlier this year.

On Sept. 30, he released the summary from the committee that proved Kentuckians agree that it is past time for the commonwealth to take action on legalizing medical cannabis.

Craig Manley, a small business owner from McCracken County, said, “Medical marijuana is a way to ease pain without messing with your body. Prescription painkillers and alcohol are dangerous in the construction business, like mine. However, if someone takes THC at night for the pain, they come to work rested and ready to work. I am very conservative and both sides should want to help people. This should have nothing to do with your views politically.”

In addition to the town hall meetings, the state’s medical cannabis website allowed Kentuckians to submit their opinions online.

According to the governor’s office, the website received 3,539 comments, 98.64 percent of which expressed support for legalizing medical cannabis in Kentucky.

A total of 37 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands allow cannabis for medical use by qualified individuals.

In May 2021, Alabama legalized medical cannabis. This year, Mississippi and Rhode Island did the same.

Kentucky’s neighboring states of Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia have legalized medical cannabis.