Kentucky governor eases access to medical cannabis for state’s residents

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Kentucky’s pro-marijuana governor just made it easier for citizens in the state to access medical cannabis, but there’s a catch.

Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday signed an executive order, effective Jan. 1, making it legal for Kentucky residents who have one of 21 medical conditions to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana, The (Cincinnati) Enquirer reported.

A requirement under the order is those residents must have a receipt of a medical marijuana purchase in another state.

And therein lies the rub.

Kentuckians cannot purchase medical marijuana from the nearest states with MMJ programs.

Ohio allows medical marijuana reciprocity with patients from other states, but “regulators have not reached any agreements to accept patients from other states’ programs,” The Enquirer noted, and “Missouri and West Virginia also do not accept out-of-state patients.”

That means Kentucky residents seeking marijuana treatments must visit states that sell recreational cannabis products.

The closest recreational market to Kentucky is Illinois, so adult-use retailers there stand to benefit the most from the governor’s order.

Meanwhile, adult-use sales in nearby Missouri could begin by February 2023, and a launch date for a recreational market in neighboring Virginia is uncertain.

Legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky is a goal for Beshear, who said in September he will take executive action to authorize MMJ after legislation stalled in the state Senate.