Updated on February 5, 2019.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Kentucky Medical Marijuana Facts
Even though the governor of the state is a proponent, the hard medical marijuana facts for Kentucky are that no one can legally possess cannabis to relieve their suffering. Governor Matt Bevin took office in 2015 after saying the evidence supporting the use of medical cannabis is “unequivocal,” yet legislators still refuse to take any action on the issue.
Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate in 2016 to create a medical marijuana program, but they did not receive any substantial consideration. Another bill was introduced in an attempt to start a program during the 2017 session.
Senator Morgan McGarvey proposed a bill in June 2017 to make the administration and dispensing of medical marijuana for end of life, hospice and palliative care legal. A hearing will be scheduled to evaluate the bill.
Marijuana Facts for Kentucky
- Anyone caught possessing up to eight ounces of weed will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. This is punishable by a fine of no more than $250 and 45 days in jail. Compared to many other states, this is a relatively lenient punishment considering the amount of pot that is covered. There are several parts of the country where possessing even a single joint can lead to as long as 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000.
- The state of Kentucky allows diversion sentencing or conditional release for people who have been charged with pot possession for the first time. This will typically involve the person choosing to go through probation rather than a criminal trial. Once the person successfully completes probation, the charge will be cleared from his or her criminal record.
- If a person is caught with eight ounces for a second time, that will be considered the same as selling or trafficking weed. The punishments in this instances are much more severe, including a fine of up to $10,000 and anywhere from one to five years in jail.
- Cultivation of weed carries serious punishments as well. If someone is caught growing five or fewer plants the first time, the sentence will be up to a year in jail and a fine of no more than $500. The penalties for a second or subsequent charge are one to five years in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000.
- One of the more ironic Kentucky marijuana facts is that while no one can legally possess medical weed, the state has a burgeoning hemp industry. According to The Richmond Register, the state has approved more than 200 applications to grow the plant for as part of a research program. This will cover approximately 12,800 acres.
- This is a substantial leap from previous years. In 2014, according to the article, there were only about 30 acres of industrial hemp grown in the state. The amount increased to about 900 acres the next year, and then a little more than 2,300 acres in 2016.
- Any expansion of industrial hemp beyond the pilot program will have to wait until the federal government legalizes the plant.
If you are interested in learning more medical marijuana facts for Kentucky, visit MarijuanaDoctors.com on a regular basis. We will continue to keep you updated on developments not only in Kentucky but throughout the United States as well.