Updated on July 22, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
As legislation changes in Kentucky, check back to this section for information about how those legislative changes will affect the prospect of medical marijuana in Kentucky.
March 2019 – House Bill 136 officially passed out of the state legislative panel. HB 136 would create a state-regulated system from growing & processing to testing & dispensing. This bill would also allow licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana for specific medical conditions. The bill has a long way to go before it is implemented as a full program, but it is off to a great start with the passage of HB 136.
In June 2017, Senator Morgan McGarvey proposed a bill to make medical marijuana legal for palliative or end of life care. The bill defined circumstances under which medical marijuana could be prescribed as “medically necessary.”
On January 3, 2017, Senate Bill SB57 sponsored by Senators D. Harper Angel, S. West and Perry Clark was introduced to the Senate. The bill proposes the establishment of a Cannabis Compassion Act that will legalize the use of medical marijuana. It will establish a system to verify the need for a patient to use cannabis and set the regulations for cultivation, use and possession of the drug. This act will also state the organizations that will assist in the provision of the drug while proposing the establishment of a department that will oversee the implementation of the act.
This bill is expected to be passed by the state Senate during the 2017 session and should be signed into law by the governor. The governor had shown support for the legalization of medical marijuana even while he was campaigning to become the governor of Kentucky. So, it’s unlikely he’ll fail to follow through.
Sen. Perry Clark introduced Senate bill SB76 in January 2017 as well, which is supposed to provide regulations for testing, cultivating, processing, selling and taxing cannabis for people who are 21 years or older. When passed into law, this legislation will repeal other sections of the state law that currently prohibits the possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis for recreational use.
Possession of marijuana is still a criminal offense in Kentucky. A person who has eight ounces or less has committed a misdemeanor (Class B), and the crime is punishable by 45 days in jail and a fine of $250 or lower. Possession of more than eight ounces of marijuana is taken as evidence that the person intends to sell or distribute it.
Sale or trafficking of marijuana that is less than eight ounces is punishable by a 12-month prison term and a total fine of $500. A subsequent offense will attract a jail term of one to five years and a fine that does not exceed $10,000. Trafficking of five pounds of cannabis attracts a sentence of five to ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000 for first-time offenders.
Cultivation of marijuana is also prohibited in Kansas. Growing five plants or fewer is punishable by a 12-month jail term and a fine that does not exceed $500. Subsequent offenders will serve a jail term of between one to five years with a fine of up to $10,000.
Nevertheless, the state Department of Agriculture has accepted applications from people who are interested in the 2017 pilot program for hemp growing. In 2016, the state said that about 4,500 acres of land should be cultivated with industrial hemp, but just 2,350 were planted.
Read Kentucky’s Full Medical Marijuana Laws to gain full specific knowledge of Kentucky’s exact legal guidelines without interpretation.
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