Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed legislation (Senate Bill 47) into law today legalizing the production, distribution, and use of medical cannabis by authorized patients. Kentucky is the 38th state to enact comprehensive medical cannabis access legislation.
“Today is an incredible victory for Kentucky,” said Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director of Kentucky NORML, who attended this morning’s signing ceremony. “For years, Kentuckians have been calling for medical cannabis legalization and now they will have the freedom to safely access regulated, therapeutic products right here at home. While there is still work to be done, this is a historic step and we look forward to continuing our work representing Kentucky patients.”
Senate Bill 47 directs the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services to implement a medical cannabis access program. Under the plan, patients with chronic pain, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress, spasticity, and other designated conditions will be able to obtain an uninterrupted 30-day supply of medical cannabis. Qualified patients who test positive for the presence of carboxy-THC on a urine drug test “shall not be considered to be under the influence.” The bill further adds, “A registered qualified patient or visiting qualified patient who uses medicinal cannabis shall be afforded all the same rights under state and local law … as the individual would have been afforded if he or she were solely prescribed pharmaceutical medications as they pertain to drug testing required by any state or local law.” Patients cannot face discrimination with respect to medical procedures (e.g., organ transplants), child visitation, or school enrollment solely due to their medical cannabis patient status.
Home cultivation of cannabis is not permitted under the legislation. Regulations governing the program would need to be finalized by January 1, 2024. The program is expected to be operational on January 1, 2025.
For more information, visit Kentucky NORML.