Medical Marijuana and Sports Gambling Bills Make It to Governor’s Desk in Kentucky

Frankfort, Ky.–Kentucky legislators have passed two bills legalizing medical marijuana and sports gambling, and the fate of the bills now lies in the hands of Governor Andy Beshear, who can either sign or veto them.

Senate Bill 47, the medical marijuana bill, sets a framework for the regulation of the cultivation and distribution of medicinal cannabis by the Cabinet of Health and Family Services. The bill establishes conditions for individuals that can receive prescriptions for cannabis, and it makes it illegal for medicinal cannabis users to smoke the substance, but vaping is allowed for users over the age of 21.

House Bill 551 legalizes sports betting in Kentucky, and it required approval from three-fifths of the Kentucky Senate as it’s an odd-numbered year. Although the bill received opposition from some Republicans, it passed with a vote of 25-12. If signed by the governor, these bills will come into effect in 2025.

Legislators in favor of the bills have cited economic benefits such as generating tax revenue and creating job opportunities in the cannabis and gambling industries. On the other hand, opponents have argued that they could adversely affect people, including young people and those with gambling addiction.