Client Alerts
January 08, 2024

Kentucky Begins Implementation and Possible Expansion of Medical Cannabis Program

Stites & Harbison Client Alert, January 9, 2024


Governor Andy Beshear began his second term by announcing significant progress towards the full implementation of the Kentucky Medical Cannabis Program (KMCP), Senate Bill 47. The KMCP legalized marijuana for medicinal use in the Commonwealth for qualifying patients with a qualifying medical condition. By law, the program goes into effect on January 1, 2025.

The Board of Physicians and Advisors (Board) and the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Workgroup (Workgroup) voted unanimously to expand the list of qualifying conditions. On December 21, 2023, the Board and Workgroup sent separate letters to Senate and House leadership recommending the General Assembly expand the qualifying conditions list during the 2024 legislative session. The current list allows patients with one of the following seven conditions to qualify: cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea and muscle spasms. The Board and Workgroup recommended adding ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, sickle cell anemia, wasting syndrome, neuropathies, severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and terminal illness to the list of qualifying conditions. Governor Beshear estimates that 437,000 additional Kentuckians would become eligible for medical cannabis under the expanded list.

On January 4th, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) filed 10 new regulations with the Legislative Research Commission. The proposed regulations to be codified, 915 KAR 1:001 – 915 KAR 1:110, provide direction for medical cannabis cultivators, processors, producers, dispensaries and safety compliance facilities as well as rules relating to advertising, packaging and labeling, transportation and delivery, and testing of medical cannabis. CHFS is accepting written comments on the proposed regulations through March 31, 2024. Regulations relating to medical cannabis business licenses and business license application procedures are expected to be issued in the first quarter of this year.

The Commonwealth partnered with two private companies to establish the medical cannabis electronic monitoring system and patient/caregiver registry. The KMCP hired a director for licensure and access, a director for enforcement and compliance, an education and outreach coordinator and has begun to fill merit staff positions.

The KMCP also launched an interactive cannabis business zoning tool (available at Zoning Tool - Kentucky Medical Cannabis Program) to assist prospective medical cannabis businesses in understanding zoning requirements applicable to potential cannabis business locations. SB 47 prohibits cannabis businesses from locating within 1,000 feet of a primary or secondary school or daycare center and allows local governments to issue additional zoning restrictions on medical cannabis business locations.

The Governor’s November 15, 2022, Executive Order remains in effect permitting Kentuckians who suffer from at least one of 21 medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, terminal illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and muscular dystrophy the ability to obtain medical cannabis out of state.

Stites & Harbison, PLLC will continue to track developments associated with the implementation of the KMCP during 2024. Please contact Jennifer Cave with any questions about SB 47, the proposed regulations or the requirements for obtaining a medical cannabis business license in Kentucky.

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