Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

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Medical Marijuana in Kentucky


Does Kentucky now allow medical marijuana?

Governor Andy Beshear recently issued an executive Order which purports to allow medical marijuana within the Commonwealth of Kentucky effective January 1, 2023.  What does this mean?

Because this was done by executive order, there are still no medical marijuana laws in Kentucky. That means there’s nowhere to buy it legally. So, those who want to purchase medical marijuana will have to travel out of state.  Additionally the law has the following conditions:

  • The cannabis must be lawfully purchased in the U.S. from a state where the purchase is legal, and the receipt must be kept.
  • The amount purchased and used must not exceed 8 ounces, which is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Kentucky.
  • Each person must also have a certification from a licensed health care provider showing the person has been diagnosed with at least one of 21 medical conditions.

On Thursday, days before it takes effect on Jan. 1, Governor Beshear admitted the order isn’t perfect. He said it won’t make getting marijuana convenient, but will ensure those who get it aren’t criminals.  My take: will it make any difference?  Is this an affirmative defense?  There are many problems with this, but it may act as a first step toward legalization. The Executive Order states that Governor will pardon anyone charged after 1/1/2023.  Therefore, anyone charge will have to request a pardon from the Governor and provide all requested documentation.  In reality, it may be easier and less costly to utilize practices already in effect.

Interestingly, some of the most common reasons for prescribing medical marijuana – stress, sleep, mental health and depression – are NOT included in the “allowed” medical conditions.  Perhaps an oversight, but more likely the continued inherent bias against mental health as a medical condition.

If you have been charged with possession or trafficking of marijuana, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  For consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin by calling/texting 859-581-6453 or use this contact form.