Beshear gives medical marijuana updates

Published 1:16 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

With the launch of legal medical cannabis less than a year away, the state is working to build a regulatory framework.

What does the law say?

Last year, the legislature passed Senate Bill 47, which legalized medical marijuana, beginning Jan. 1, 2025.

The law requires eligible Kentuckians to get a written certification from a licensed practitioner and apply for a registry ID card to get medical marijuana.

To be eligible, a patient must have one of the following qualifying medical conditions:

  • cancer;
  • chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain;
  • epilepsy or other intractable seizure disorder;
  • multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity;
  • chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome that is resistant to other treatments;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder; or
  • any other medical condition or disease the Kentucky Center for Cannabis determines is likely to be benefitted by the use of medicinal cannabis according to scientific data.

Eligible patients are limited to 30-day supplies, and minors can’t access it without the presence of a designated caregiver.

Practitioners who want to prescribe medicinal cannabis and businesses that want to produce or sell it also must obtain licenses to operate.

Businesses cannot be within 1,000 feet of primary or secondary schools or daycares.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services oversees the program, while the newly formed Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Workgroup makes policy recommendations based on current research.

Medical cannabis updates

Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced a few updates.

First, he said that his administration filed 10 new regulations.

They include rules for cultivators, processors, producers, safety compliance facilities and dispensaries as well as directives concerning transportation, packaging and labeling, advertising and testing of medicinal cannabis.

After a public comment period, these regulations may be implemented.

Second, the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Workgroup and the Board of Physicians and Advisors sent a letter to the legislature asking to expand the qualifying conditions.

The recommended additions are:

  • ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • irritable bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis;
  • sickle cell anemia;
  • cachexia or wasting symptoms;
  • neuropathies;
  • severe arthritis;
  • fibromyalgia;
  • muscular dystrophy;
  • Huntington’s disease;
  • HIV;
  • AIDS;
  • glaucoma; and
  • terminal illness.

The group said that they need to do more research on Hepatitis C before potentially adding it to the list.

The legislature would have to approve these additions for them to be officially implemented.

Third, the state will partner with Tyler Technologies and Metro to establish an electronic monitoring system and patient/caregiver registry to track use beginning in 2025.