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Kentucky Legalizes Medical Cannabis

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Apr 03, 2023   
Cannabis buds fall out of jar.

Image credit: iStock

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Kentucky has become the 38th US state to legalize medical cannabis.

On Friday morning, March 31, the state’s governor, Andy Beshear, signed Senate Bill 47, legalizing the use and sale of medical cannabis (although sales aren’t expected to begin until 2025).

“I have been pushing for medical cannabis and sports betting for years,” Governor Beshear wrote in a statement on Twitter shortly after signing Senate Bill 47 and another bill to legalize sports betting.

“Today, I signed these two bills into law. Team Kentucky delivers and we get results. Congrats, Kentucky.”

Prior to Beshear’s approval, SB 47 passed through the state’s House of Representatives (by 66 to 33 votes) and the state Senate (by 26 to 11 votes).

In its finalized version, the bill:

  • prohibits cannabis smoking (while allowing the sale of flower).
  • limits THC levels to 35% for flower, 70% for concentrates, and 10 milligrams per serving for edibles.
  • bans home cultivation.
  • allows local governments to prohibit cannabis businesses, though residents can force localities to opt-in via ballot measure.
  • prohibits “most advertising”.
  • establishes eight different types of business permits, including dispensary, processor, producer, and testing labs.

The bill builds on an executive order Beshear signed last year that legalized the possession of cannabis by some individuals suffering from severe medical conditions.


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