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Kentuckians Can Now Purchase Medical Cannabis as Executive Order Begins

By: Buz Deliere | January 2, 2023

Kentuckians with medical cannabis certifications from other states will now be immune to state prosecution for possession of up to 8 ounces, thanks to a recently proposed measure in the Kentucky legislature.

Gov. Beshear said, "I couldn't sit and let another veteran end their life. I couldn't sit and watch another person fall into addiction with opioids."

Kentucky residents are now required to retain the proof of qualified purchases, as part of the order mandated by the state government.

Advocacy groups are actively championing the cause of change with lawmakers. To build support, they share personal stories to illustrate how this issue affects individuals and their communities on a deeper level.

Julie Cantwell, the co-founder of Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis, has advocated tirelessly for her son Preston who suffers from drug-resistant epilepsy. In a search for relief and treatment not readily available in the state itself, Cantwell resorted to medical cannabis obtained out of state -- which she says has made an incredible difference the last three years.

Cantwell said, "He hasn't had a seizure since he started using it, and he had had seizures sometimes upwards of 200 times a day."

Kentucky Gov. Beshear has taken action to ensure law enforcement statewide is informed and able to accurately identify travelers with valid access to medicinal cannabis, providing them with specialized palm cards containing pertinent information.

Cannabis is now legally available to individuals in Kentucky – with certain conditions, of course. In order to obtain the substance for medicinal use, an individual must present a written certification confirming that they are afflicted by one of 21 state-approved medical issues. Furthermore, caregivers may be eligible to possess cannabis on behalf of approved patients as well.

Here is the list of ailments:

  1. Cancer

  2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease

  3. Epilepsy

  4. Intractable seizures

  5. Parkinson’s disease

  6. Crohn’s disease

  7. Multiple sclerosis

  8. Sickle cell anemia

  9. Severe and chronic pain

  10. Post-traumatic stress disorder

  11. Cachexia or wasting syndrome

  12. Neuropathies

  13. Severe arthritis

  14. Hepatitis C

  15. Fibromyalgia

  16. Intractable pain

  17. Muscular dystrophy

  18. Huntington’s disease

  19. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

  20. Glaucoma

  21. A terminal illness

Illinois is the lone state to permit the sale of cannabis products from its borders, allowing out-of-state consumers access.

Nonresidents in five states are unable to purchase medical cannabis, as Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Illinois have all established programs restricting outside access. Missouri also joins the ranks of those protecting its program from outsiders by applying a similar policy.

Despite mild changes in cannabis legislation, cross-state travel remains a precarious endeavor. In particular, individuals who move through states like Indiana or Tennessee are liable for potential criminal charges due to their outdated laws against marijuana possession.

Governor Beshear is currently working with other state governments to pardon people charged outside of Kentucky; however, he lacks the authority necessary to do so beyond his own borders.


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