Gov. Beshear Issues Executive Order To Allow Use of Medical Cannabis for Treatment

Kentuckians must meet certain specific conditions after January 1, 2023.

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(Frankfort, Ky.) – Kentuckians with severe medical conditions will soon be able to use medical cannabis for treatment.

In an executive order announced Tuesday, Governor Beshear outlined the conditions that Kentuckians with at least one of 21 medical conditions, which include cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, muscular dystrophy, or a terminal illness, must meet to access medical cannabis beginning January 1, 2023.

The requirements to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat medical conditions are:

  • Cannabis must be bought in the United States of America in a state where the purchase is legal and regulated. Kentuckians will need to keep their receipt.
  • The amount a person can purchase and possess at any one time must not exceed 8 ounces, which is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Kentucky.
  • Each Kentuckian must also have a certification from a licensed health care provider that shows that the individual has been diagnosed with at least one of 21 medical conditions. A copy of the certification must be retained.

A complete list of conditions can be viewed here.

The governor said that guidance is being created for law enforcement to determine quickly and accurately who does and does not qualify.

Beshear added that his executive order is not a substitute for much-needed legislation to fully legalize medical cannabis. He plans to work with lawmakers this upcoming session to push for full legalization of medical cannabis.

“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,” Gov. Beshear said. “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.”

A veteran from Northern Kentucky, Jared Bonvell, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, described his daily struggle after being prescribed 13 medications that weren’t effective, which left him contemplating suicide.

“Within a year, I didn’t drink and was off 12 of the 13 medications,” said Bonvell. “I still have all those injuries and disabilities, but I can function. I can live. I can have friendships and conversations again.”

Visit medicalcannabis.ky.gov for a list of advisory team members, which includes Kentuckians with experience in health care, treatment of opioid use disorder and other diseases of addiction, law enforcement, criminal justice and advocacy for medical cannabis. 

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