The governor of one of last states holding out on medical cannabis signed an executive order today permitting possession and use of the product.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed the order Tuesday, pardoning “any and all persons” accused of marijuana possession after the order’s effective date of Jan. 1, 2023, provided certain conditions were met, including:
- Medical cannabis was “lawfully purchased” in a jurisdiction that allows for medical cannabis.
- The person has written proof of the legal purchase, including when and where it was purchased.
- The amount of cannabis possessed does not exceed 8 ounces.
- The individual has a diagnosis of one of 21 conditions and is at least 21 years old.
“Allowing Kentuckians diagnosed with certain medical conditions and receiving palliative care to purchase, possess and/or use medical cannabis would improve the quality of their lives, and it may help reduce abuse of other more dangerous and addictive medications, such as opiates,” the order read.
Overdose deaths in Kentucky in 2021 increased 14.5%, primarily driven by opioid abuse and the increased prevalence of fentanyl.
“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,” Beshear said in a statement. “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.”
The governor said that guidance is being created for law enforcement to determine quickly and accurately who does and does not qualify.
In addition, Beshear announced that the state would move forward on crafting regulations surrounding delta-8 THC.
While industry insiders hailed the move as a good first step, several Kentucky officials were not as supportive of the announcement. The state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, noted that he views this move as an attempt “to bypass the policy-making authority of the General Assembly.”
Time and time again, the governor has attempted to bypass the policy-making authority of the General Assembly. Today’s executive orders regarding medical marijuana and Delta 8 are another example of his attitude toward governing. (1/2)
— Attorney General Daniel Cameron (@kyoag) November 15, 2022
Cameron said his office is “reviewing” the orders to determine further action.