Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Order

Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order on Tuesday establishing conditions for the use of medical marijuana in Kentucky. The order outlines certain severe medical conditions and specific requirements for people to possess and use what the governor called “small amounts” of legally purchased medical cannabis.

The order outlines 21 medical conditions that would qualify:

  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease;
  2. Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
  3. Cancer;
  4. Crohn’s disease;
  5. Epilepsy;
  6. Fibromyalgia;
  7. Glaucoma;
  8. Hepatitis C;
  9. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
  10. Huntington’s disease;
  11. Intractable pain;
  12. Intractable seizures;
  13. Multiple sclerosis;
  14. Muscular dystrophy;
  15. Neuropathies;
  16. Parkinson’s disease;
  17. Post-traumatic stress disorder;
  18. Severe and chronic pain;
  19. Severe arthritis;
  20. Sickle cell anemia; or
  21. A terminal illness.

Under the governor’s order, medical cannabis would be available beginning Jan. 1, 2023, under the following conditions:

  • Kentuckians must purchase cannabis in the United States in a state where the purchase is legal and regulated. Kentuckians will need to keep their receipt.
  • A person cannot purchase and possess more than 8 ounces at any time ‒ the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Kentucky.
  • A licensed healthcare provider must certify that the person has one of the 21 above medical conditions, and the person must keep a copy of the certification.

Beshear argued at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that Kentuckians are dying of opioid addiction because of over prescription of the drug. He stated that 37 states allow the use of marijuana for medical conditions, including five of Kentucky’s neighboring states: Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia. “You can purchase cannabis to treat a medical condition in Illinois, and you can use that medical cannabis in West Virginia, but while you are traveling through Kentucky, you’re a criminal,” he said. “That’s not right for something that’s legal in these other states to treat such serious conditions.”

The governor said the state was creating guidance for law enforcement, and he urged the legislature to pass a medical marijuana bill. Beshear promised on Tuesday to work with law enforcement to deal with any unforeseen circumstances that may require him to amend Tuesday’s order.

Beshear also signed an executive order to regulate the sale of Delta 8. The substance contains THC at a lower level than marijuana. A northern Kentucky court recently ruled that it is legal in Kentucky, and it is not federally controlled. Beshear’s order establishes a regulatory structure for the sale of the substance.