Kentucky governor signs medical marijuana legalization bill into law

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state into law on Friday, fulfilling an earlier promise.

Forty states have now legalized medical cannabis in some form.

Beshear, a Democrat, signed Senate Bill 47 the day after it passed the Republican-dominated state House on a 66-33 vote.

The new market is slated to launch no sooner than Jan. 1, 2025.

Considered a relatively restrictive bill – the list of qualifying conditions is short, and there is no home cultivation and patients are barred from smoking cannabis – legal medical marijuana in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state is nonetheless seen as a significant political achievement.

Kentucky is also a leading producer of hemp products.

Kentucky’s new MMJ law has no license caps and permits cultivation with canopy ranging from 2,500 to 50,000 square feet.

Beshear’s signature also follows an executive order he issued last fall that allowed Kentucky residents to legally possess MMJ products – with proof of legal purchase – obtained in other states.

State lawmakers sent a medical cannabis bill to Beshear’s desk after years of deadlock.

In previous years, medical marijuana legalization cleared the state Senate before stalling out in the state House.