Kentucky just became the 38th US state to legalize medical marijuana, and although the new program is still pretty restrictive, it's still a major win for such a conservative state.
The new law will allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis products to people diagnosed with cancer, severe pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms or spasticity, chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting, PTSD, or other conditions. Registered patients will be allowed to possess a 30-day supply of weed at home, or a 10-day stash on their person. The law will force patients to renew their cards every 60 days, but medical pot products are being sold tax-free, at least.
“Far too many of our people face the obstacle of having chronic or terminal diseases like cancer, or those like our veterans suffering from PTSD or Kentuckians living with epilepsy, seizures, Parkinson’s or more,” said Governor Andy Beshear (D) in a statement. “These folks want and deserve safe and effective methods of treatment.”
Beshear has been fighting for medical cannabis ever since he took office. Last year, after the Republican-dominated state legislature killed yet another medical marijuana bill, the governor enacted an executive order that allowed qualified patients to legally use medical pot products purchased in other US states. Conservative politicians challenged this unorthodox plan, but eventually accepted the inevitability of cannabis reform and signed off on this historic new legalization bill.
“One of the prime reasons I sponsored this bill and moved it along is addiction,” said Sen. Stephen West (R), the bill's sponsor, Marijuana Moment reports. “Other states that have adopted this have seen not only a 20-30 percent reduction in opioid use, but also a 20 or 30 percent reduction in drug addiction. If you haven’t looked, Kentucky has a severe addiction problem, and I think... medical marijuana can be part of the solution.”
State Rep. Jason Nemes (R), who has been championing medical cannabis bills for years now, celebrated the win by posting a link to Ice Cube's classic “It Was A Good Day” on social media. “Today’s signing ceremony for medical marijuana was many years and thousands of meetings in the making,” he wrote. “We have more work to do on the regulations, etc. But today was a good day.”
Today’s signing ceremony for medical marijuana was many years and thousands of meetings in the making. We have more work to do on the regulations, etc.— Jason Nemes (@jmnemes) March 31, 2023
But today was a good day.
Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day https://t.co/Bs4yGu8vAX via @YouTube
That video may spark up the desire to blaze a fat blunt, but any Kentuckian who chooses to do so can still get thrown in jail. The new medical law strictly prohibits patients from actually smoking weed, although raw flower can be purchased and vaped. Home grows are off the table, too. Flower cannot exceed 35% THC content, concentrates are capped at 70%, and edibles can't contain more than 10mg per serving. Local governments will also be allowed to opt out of allowing medical cannabis businesses to open on their home turf.
“This is not a wink, wink, nod, nod bill,” said Nemes, according to SpectrumNews1. “We want those who are running, or in this program, to be held accountable when they misbehave. And if they misbehave, they need to go to prison, a Kentucky prison.”