Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order Nov. 15 protecting residents in the state from prosecution for medical marijuana use.
The executive order is meant to protect residents who legally purchase medical marijuana in another state to treat chronic pain from various medical conditions or post-traumatic stress disorder.
State won’t legalize despite residents’ desires
“In Kentucky, despite polling that suggests 90% of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis, any amount of cannabis possession, cultivation and distribution remains criminalized,” Beshear states in the executive order.
Beshear goes on to point out that multiple other states have legalized medical marijuana, but despite the support from residents, previous efforts in Kentucky to legalize the drug have failed.
Pardons granted if 9 conditions are met
The executive order mentions that a recent study showed “a 64% reduction in opioid use among chronic pain patients who use medical cannabis,” which is a safer, less addictive choice for pain treatment than opioids.
Because medical marijuana has proven safer and more effective than opioids and since legalization efforts in Kentucky have failed, Beshear issued the executive order to pardon anyone convicted of marijuana possession, if they fall under nine specific conditions, effective January 1, 2023.
Those nine conditions are:
- the medical marijuana must be bought legally in the U.S. but outside of Kentucky
- an individual must produce written proof of purchase
- the amount of medical marijuana possessed must be of the legal amount allowed in the state it was purchased in
- an individual, or their caregiver, must produce written certification from a licensed healthcare provider in the state of Kentucky who has diagnosed that individual with at least one of the 21 medical conditions listed in the executive order
- the written certification from a licensed healthcare provider must include a statement from the provider describing their relationship with the patient along with a professional opinion on the patient’s condition
- the written certification from a licensed healthcare provider shouldn’t be a prescription for medical marijuana
- the licensed healthcare provider must be a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathy who is licensed to practice in Kentucky
- a caregiver, under the order, is someone who is 21-years-old or older who has significant responsibility for managing the well-being of the individual they purchased medical marijuana for, and
- the pardon will only apply to the criminal offense of possession of marijuana under Kentucky state law.