Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Tuesday signed executive orders regarding marijuana, including one that will help some Kentuckians legally possess and use it for medical purposes.
Because he can’t change the law or direct police not to enforce it, the governor is granting a “full, complete, and conditional pardon” to qualifying patients instead, reports Marijuana Moment.
American Grown; Keep Your Receipts; Get Certified
Beshear’s order requires Kentuckians’ medical Cannabis be bought within the U.S., in a state where the purchase is legal. Kentuckians will need to keep their receipt, he said.
Patients can purchase and possess up to eight ounces, which is the dividing line between a misdemeanor and a felony in Kentucky.
Each Kentucky medical marijuana patient must also get certification from a licensed health care provider. If certifications show patients been diagnosed with one of 21 medical conditions, they qualify. Beshear’s order requires that patients keep a copy of that certification.
Beshear: Kentucky Patients Will Soon Be Able To Get The Help They Need
“You can purchase cannabis to treat a medical condition in Illinois, and you can use that cannabis in West Virginia. But while you’re traveling through Kentucky, you’re a criminal,” Gov. Beshear said during a Frankfort news conference.
Kentucky is one of just 12 states still prohibiting marijuana for both medical and adult uses, reports the Courier Journal. This is despite public polling showing legalization, especially for medical purposes, is quite popular.
Beshear, a Democrat, said he would have preferred the Legislature legalize and regulate medical marijuana. But he said he took executive action after the repeated failure of a bill in the Kentucky General Assembly.
“I Am Doing What I Can To Provide Access And Relief”
Beshear said current law prohibits Kentuckians with chronic and terminal illnesses from legally buying marijuana in the state. But that’s about to change, according to the governor. He said patients “will soon be able to get the help they need without living in fear of being charged with a misdemeanor.”
“With 37 states already legalizing medical cannabis and 90% of Kentucky adults supporting it, I am doing what I can to provide access and relief to those who meet certain conditions and need it to better enjoy their life, without pain,” Beshear said.
Among the 21 qualifying medical conditions are cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, severe arthritis, terminal illness, and chronic pain.
Governor Will Push For Full Legalization
Beshear said his team is creating guidance for law enforcement to determine quickly who does and doesn’t qualify, reports Fox 19.
“What we’re trying to do is take a measured step to help those who are struggling,” Beshear said.
The governor said he’ll push for full legalization during the upcoming legislative session.