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Kentucky Rolls Out Medical Marijuana Program Ahead Of Schedule

FRANKFORD, KY – Kentucky is expediting its program that will allow legal medical marijuana in the state, according to an ABC News report.

Gov. Andy Beshear said last week that the state is beginning to accept applications starting Monday from businesses that are seeking to sell, process or grow medical marijuana.  They can apply through the end of August.  This accelerates the process of providing the products for people in Kentucky who suffer from a list of debilitating illnesses.

Doctors and advanced practice registered nurses also can begin submitting applications to let them certify patients who are eligible to have medical cannabis.  The process is being supervised by Kentucky’s Board of Medical Licensure and Board of Nursing.

The bill establishing the program was passed by the state legislature in 2023 and signed by Beshear, setting a start date of Jan. 1, 2025.  A subsequent measure was passed to speed up the process for licensing cannabis businesses by six months.

Patients with qualifying illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea or post-traumatic stress disorder, can apply for a medical cannabis card on Jan. 1.

“This administration has been working hard to expedite the timeline for making medial cannabis available to Kentuckians with serious medical conditions,” Gov. Beshear said. 

“We are excited that the program will be able to issue licenses in 2024 rather than 2025,” Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said. “From its inception, the program has been focused on ensuring patients with serious medical conditions like cancer, PTSD, multiple sclerosis and other symptoms and conditions have safe access to medical cannabis.”

The state will use a lottery system to award its first round of business licenses.

“The program is focused on ensuring cannabis business licensing is fair, transparent and customer-service oriented,” said Sam Flynn, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Medical Cannabis.

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