Updated on May 26, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
While the majority of Kentucky residents approve of medical marijuana, medical marijuana laws in this state are very strict, with the only exception being that some patients can access CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Although many other states have amended their laws to not only allow medical use but recreational use as well, the state of Kentucky still considers the sale or possession of marijuana to be a crime.
Matt Bevin was elected governor of the state in 2015, and part of his platform was that he supported marijuana for medical use. He said there was unequivocal evidence of the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, while his opponent was dismissive of that evidence. But even with the governor’s support, no bills introduced in the state legislature that would change medical marijuana law in Kentucky were given serious consideration. Another bill designed to create a medical marijuana program in the state was introduced for the 2017 legislative session.
In June 2017, a bill was introduced to make the prescription of medical marijuana legal when used for palliative or hospice care. Sen. Morgan McGarvey proposed this bill which would allow physicians to transfer, dispense, recommend, or administer certain types of cannabidiol to end of life care patients.
It’s somewhat ironic that legalization of marijuana — for medical purposes or any other purposes — has been so slow in coming in Kentucky since the plant is so prevalent throughout the state. But all indications point to continued slow progress toward legalization.
Anyone caught with eight ounces or less of marijuana is charged with a Class B misdemeanor under marijuana law in Kentucky. The penalties include a jail sentence of up to 45 days as well as a fine of up to $250. Anyone who is convicted of possessing eight ounces or more of the plant is considered to also have the intent to sell it or distribute it, which is considered to be a Class D felony. The penalties range from one to five years in jail as well as a fine of anywhere from $1,000-$10,000. If someone is convicted a second time, that is considered to be a Class C felony under marijuana law in Kentucky. Punishments range from five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Anyone convicted of possession of marijuana paraphernalia faces the penalties associated with a Class A misdemeanor — up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $500.
In terms of the cultivation of weed, someone who is convicted of possessing less than five plants is charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This could result in a jail sentence of up to a year as well as a fine of no more than $500. Offenders convicted of a second or subsequent offense face a Class D felony. Punishments include one to five years in jail and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000. If someone is convicted of dispensing, distributing, administering or prescribing marijuana or any other controlled substance, they are guilty of a Class D felony — one to five years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
MarijuanaDoctors.com will continue to monitor Kentucky medical marijuana laws for any further developments and post updates as necessary. Please check back with us on a regular basis.