Beshear legalizes it… kinda. See how his executive order on cannabis effects Delta-8 in Kentucky

Frankfort, KY–Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order relating to medical cannabis in the Commonwealth of Kentucky today. In the order Beshear states that, “despite polling that suggests 90 percent (90%) of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis, …efforts to legalize medical cannabis through legislation have failed in the General Assembly, including during the 2020 Regular Session and the 2022 Regular Session when bills passed the House of Representatives in bipartisan fashion, but did not reach debate in the Senate.”

Because of these failures, Beshear sought an alternative through executive action:

In the absence of legislation legalizing medical cannabis in Kentucky, I have reviewed what executive action could provide relief to Kentuckians and allow those suffering from chronic pain and other medical conditions to use medical cannabis.

As part of my commitment to this effort, on June 14, 2022, I created the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee…

The Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee provided feedback from the public to me as Governor. Of the more than 3,500 public comments the advisory committee received, 98.6 percent (98.6%) were in favor of legalizing medical cannabis. The advisory committee reported that military veterans are finding relief from medical conditions like PTSD with medical cannabis. The advisory committee also reported that Kentuckians cross state lines to purchase medical cannabis where it is legal to do so, but fear arrest once they return to Kentucky.

Beshear also notes that “Unlike opioids, cannabis does not cause respiratory depression, leading to lesser mortality rates, and medical cannabis is far less addictive.”

Patients with the following conditions can now possess up to 8 ounces of cannabis purchased legally in the US. They will need approval from a KY doctor and a valid receipt from a legal dispensary if stopped by the police.

  1. cancer;
  2. amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease;
  3. epilepsy;
  4. intractable seizures;
  5. Parkinson’s disease;
  6. Crohn’ s disease;
  7. multiple sclerosis;
  8. sickle cell anemia;
  9. severe and chronic pain;
  10. post traumatic stress disorder;
  11. cachexia or wasting syndrome;
  12. neuropathies;
  13. severe arthritis;
  14. hepatitis C;
  15. fibromyalgia;
  16. intractable pain;
  17. muscular dystrophy;
  18. Huntington’s disease;
  19. human immunodeficiency virus (HlV) or acquired immune
  20. deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
  21. glaucoma; or
  22. a terminal illness.

New Delta-8 Regulations

Beshear also ordered new regulations around THC Delta-8, an intoxicating hemp product with similar effects to weed, today. On August 3, 2022, a Boone County judge ruled in Kentucky Hemp Association, et al. v. Ryan Quarles, et al that Delta-8 was compliant with state and federal law in Kentucky and permanently barred law enforcement from arresting people for possessing/selling it. (Prior to the decision, cops had been raiding KY stores that stocked it.)

Beshear’s other order today gives the Commonwealth of Kentucky the power to create regulations regarding Delta-8 and enforce those regulations. No word on what the specific regulations will be, but many expect new testing, labelling, and packaging requirements. There are currently no uniform regulations governing hemp THC products in the Commonwealth.