Kentucky Becomes 38th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana sales are slated to begin in 2025.

With a quick swipe of his pen Friday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear brought his state into the modern cannabis industry by signing Senate Bill 47 into law, which will allow private industry to sell cannabis beginning in 2025.

Beshear, a longtime proponent of MMJ, said he was happy that the legislature followed through on his calls for medical cannabis to be made accessible, following an executive order he issued last year to allow residents to use medical marijuana without fear of legal repercussions, WLKY reported.

“I talked about that executive order being imperfect, and that we needed legislative action, and last night, the General Assembly delivered,” Beshear said.

SB 47 was finalized by the Kentucky Legislature on Thursday evening, in a 66-33 vote in the state House of Representatives. The bill previously passed the state Senate on a 26-11 vote.

Cannabis advocates hailed Beshear’s move as another win for marijuana reform.

“While SB 47 is more restrictive compared to some state medical cannabis laws, it is a vital step forward toward meeting the needs of patients in Kentucky. They should not continue to suffer or be forced to seek relief in the illicit market,” said Marijuana Policy Project’s Kevin Caldwell, southeast legislative manager for the nonprofit.

According to an analysis by MPP, the bill would:

  • Prohibit smoking cannabis, despite allowing the sale of raw flower.
  • Limit THC levels to 35% for flower, 70% for concentrates, and 10 milligrams per serving for edibles.
  • Ban home cultivation.
  • Allow local governments to prohibit cannabis businesses, though residents can force localities to opt-in via ballot measure.
  • Prohibit “most advertising,” though typical business signs are allowed.
  • Establish at least eight different types of business permits, including dispensary, processor, producer, testing labs, and four different levels of cultivation, from 2,500 square feet of canopy up to a maximum of 50,000 square feet.

There’s still much that has yet to be determined, such as licensing and patient fee levels, as well as other business regulations which will be written by the state Cabinet of Health and Family Services by July 2024.

John Schroyer

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