Kentucky Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana

A day after it was approved by the state’s legislature, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshea signed into law legislation that legalizes medical marijuana.

Governor Beshea wasted no time in making his state the latest to legalize the medical use of marijuana. The bill’s signing came a day after the House of Representatives voted 66 to 33 to pass Senate Bill 47, which had already passed the Senate 26 to 11.

Senate Bill 47 legalizes the possession and use of medical marijuana for those with a qualifying medical condition who receive a recommendation from a physician or advanced practice registered nurse. Licensed dispensaries will be allowed to distribute marijuana and marijuana products. Although smoking marijuana isn’t allowed, dried flower is still permitted for vaping, and patients will be able to obtain marijuana through a variety of other products.

Senate Bill 47 also explicitly recognizes “valid out-of-state registry identification cards”.

The bill states that the “acquisition, blending, cultivation, delivery, distribution, manufacturing,  manipulation, packaging for sale, preparation, possession, sale, testing, transportation, or transfer of medicinal cannabis or medicinal cannabis accessories by a cannabis business or cannabis business agent shall be considered lawful”. Under the law the state is required to license at least 25 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. They would also be required to license at least 15 cultivators, five processors and three producers.

Qualifying medical marijuana conditions include:

  • Any type or form of cancer regardless of stage;
  • Chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain;
  • Epilepsy or any other intractable seizure disorder;
  • Multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity;
  • Chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome that has proven resistant to other conventional medical treatments;
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Any other medical condition or disease for which the Kentucky Center for Cannabis established in KRS 164.983, or its successor, determines that sufficient scientific data and evidence exists to demonstrate that an individual diagnosed with that condition or disease is likely to receive medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefits from the use of medicinal cannabis.

Another provision of the bill states that a medical marijuana patient “otherwise entitled to custody of, or visitation time or parenting time with, a minor child shall not be denied that right, and there shall be no presumption of abuse, neglect, or dependency for conduct permitted under Sections 1 to 30 of this Act unless the person’s actions in relation to medicinal cannabis created an unreasonable danger to the safety of the minor child as established by clear and convincing evidence.”

In regards to out-of-state patients, the bill says:

A visiting qualified patient shall not be subject, under the laws of the Commonwealth, to arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board, for the use of medicinal cannabis, if the visiting qualified patient does not possess more than an amount of medicinal cannabis determined by the cabinet to constitute an uninterrupted ten (10) day supply on his or her person.

For the full text of Kentucky’s Senate Bill 47, click here.

Senate Bill 47 will take effect on January 1, 2025.

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