Kentucky Governor’s Order Protects Medical Marijuana Users From Prosecution for Possession
The 37 states that allow medical use of marijuana do not include Kentucky, where polling suggests that 90 percent of residents favor that policy. Because state legislators have not delivered a reform that the vast majority of voters say they want, Gov. Andy Beshear this week issued a conditional pardon aimed at protecting people who use marijuana for medical purposes from prosecution for simple possession.
Beshear, a Democrat in a state where Republicans control the legislature, presented his pardon as a commonsensical response to public opinion and the example set by other states. “Kentuckians throughout the Commonwealth suffer from a multitude of medical conditions from which they deserve relief,” he said in his executive order. “In Kentucky, despite polling that suggests 90 percent (90%) of Kentucky adults support legalizing medical cannabis, any amount of cannabis possession, cultivation and distribution remains criminalized. Past 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.”
Contrary to what you may have read, Beshear’s executive order does not “legalize” medical marijuana. It does not even necessarily mean that patients who use cannabis for symptom relief won’t be arrested for marijuana possession, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 45 days in jail and a $250 fine. But it does mean that such individuals won’t be prosecuted for that offense, provided they meet four conditions:
1. They have to buy marijuana outside of Kentucky in a jurisdiction where such sales are legal.
2. They have to retain a receipt documenting that purchase.
3. They have to buy no more than eight ounce
Article from Reason.com