Lawmakers in Kentucky, a state with one of the most restrictive cannabis laws in the country, have taken the first steps to loosen its marijuana policies. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently signed an executive order that legalized the possession and consumption of medical marijuana by qualifying Kentuckians on the condition that the cannabis was legally purchased outside the state. Qualifying individuals will also be restricted to less than eight ounces of medical marijuana.
Although dozens of states now allow medical and recreational cannabis, 13 states including Kentucky have still banned both medical and adult-use marijuana. In spite of this prohibition, polls have found that a large percentage of Kentucky residents are in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical use.
A multitude of studies have found that cannabis can be effective against a variety of conditions, and more Americans are looking to the plant as an alternative medicine to pharmaceuticals.
Thanks to the newly signed executive order, eligible Kentuckians will now be able to use medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and even lack of appetite. Beshear said that while he would have preferred to pass a bill that would have completely legalized medical cannabis and launched a regulated market, the Kentucky General Assembly’s failure forced him to take executive action.
Given that nearly 40 states have legal medical marijuana markets and a majority of Kentuckians support medical cannabis legalization, Beshear stated that he was doing what he could to ensure patients who need the drug for a better quality of life can access it. He also said that residents who have been diagnosed with chronic and terminal illnesses who were previously barred from legally accessing medical cannabis will now be able to get the drug without a risk of criminal prosecution.
Beshear’s executive order will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Patients who are afflicted with any of the 21 qualifying conditions listed will be protected from criminal persecution if they possess up to eight ounces of medical cannabis if they can prove that it was purchased in a licensed dispensary from out of state. These qualifying conditions include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, terminal illness and cancer.
To qualify for protection under the executive order, patients will need licensed physicians to certify that they have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions.
When legalization eventually happens, there is a possibility that residents may be allowed to grow their own cannabis and leverage modern cultivation equipment commercialized by the likes of Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX).
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