With a few strokes of the governor’s pen, Kentucky has expanded cannabis access.
On Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear (D) signed two executive orders legalizing medicinal cannabis and implementing Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol regulation.
Governor Beshear says the orders are not substitutes for much-needed legislation for cannabis legalization.
The governor says he has limited executive powers, and the orders represent a balanced approach to the issue.
According to Governor Beshear, updated guidance for law enforcement is underway.
“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,” says Governor Beshear. “With thirty-seven states already legalizing medical cannabis, and 90 percent 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.”
Medical Cannabis in Kentucky
But even under an updated policy, not everyone in Kentucky can use medical cannabis legally.
While some states allow people to use cannabis medicinally for any reason they see fit, Kentucky does not.
Beginning January 1, 2023, only Kentuckians with qualifying conditions may possess up to eight ounces of cannabis for medicinal use.
In Kentucky, patients must have at least one condition from a list of 21 to qualify for medical cannabis.
The list includes cancer, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, muscular dystrophy, and other conditions.
Patients must obtain a certification from a licensed healthcare provider.
Kentucky’s new policy requires patients to purchase cannabis medicine from a legal retailer.
The retailer must be in the United States, but outside Kentucky, so patients must leave the state to buy cannabis.
Currently, Indiana and Tennessee are the only states bordering Kentucky that have not legalized medical cannabis.
CBD and Delta-8 are legal in Tennessee.
According to Governor Beshear, the medical cannabis policy is the first step to broader medical cannabis legalization.
Governor Beshear says he will address the issue with the Kentucky legislature when the session begins in January.
Delta-8 in Kentucky
Delta-8, which is not federally scheduled, is legal in many states but lacks regulation.
“Right now,” says Governor Beshear. “There are no checks on how it is packaged and sold.”
Regarding Kentucky’s new Delta-8 policy, Governor Beshear says the state needs a regulatory structure to ensure safe sales.
According to Beshear, the structure will be a template for future legalization, providing a chance to train people.
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