Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear issued an executive order allowing residents with certain severe medical conditions and who fulfill certain qualifications to possess and consume limited amounts of cannabis acquired from a state with legal access.
When Beshear signed the order, he became the first governor to do so, making it lawful for residents to possess and consume cannabis for medical purposes. The order does not establish a legal means for patients to obtain cannabis in the state. Kentucky shares boundaries with states that have legalized cannabis for medical use (West Virginia and Ohio) and for adult use (Illinois).
The order specifies the medical problems that qualify for assistance and requests medical documentation verifying the patient’s condition. According to a news release issued by the governor’s office, those affected by the order “will need to keep their receipt” from legitimate purchases.
Since lawmakers had failed to adopt the reforms, Beshear formed a Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee to advise him on cannabis policy. The vast majority of Kentuckians (98%) agreed with the committee’s conclusion to legalize medical marijuana.
Beshear stated last month that those with minor cannabis possession convictions but otherwise spotless backgrounds are eligible to ask for a pardon.
Kerry Harvey, co-chair of the committee and secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet said, “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. 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.”