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Overview of Kentucky's Medical Marijuana Law

By Sally Kent Peebles

May 3, 2023

While many of us around the country are making weekend plans to watch the Kentucky Derby and sip on a mint julep, I thought it was an appropriate time to provide an overview of Kentucky’s new exciting medical marijuana law. On March 31, Governor Andy Beshears signed SB47 (the “Kentucky Bill”) into law, making the Bluegrass State the 38th state to take this important step.

The Kentucky Bill tasks the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (the “Department”), with oversight and implementation of the medical marijuana program. Four license types will be issued to applicants: Cultivator, Dispensary, Processor, Producer and Cannabis Safety Compliance Facility. At this time, the bill does not contemplate a state-level licensure cap.

The Kentucky Bill prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana, and patient cardholders will have to be 18 years of age or older.

It also includes the following qualifying medical conditions for which a medical marijuana patient in Kentucky may be treated with medical marijuana:

  • Cancer

  • Chronic pain

  • Epilepsy or any other intractable seizure disorder

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Muscle spasms, or spasticity

  • Chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome that has proven resistant to other conventional medical treatments

  • PTSD

  • Any other medical condition or disease for which the Kentucky Center for Cannabis established in KRS 164.983, or its successor, determines that sufficient scientific data and evidence exists to demonstrate that an individual diagnosed with that condition or disease is likely to receive medical, therapeutic, or palliative benefits from the use of medicinal cannabis

The Department must issue implementing rules and an application by July 1, 2024 and the program will go into effect by January 1, 2025.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Vicente LLP Partner Sally Kent Peebles.

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