HomeNewsKentucky Medical Cannabis Business License Applications Open

Kentucky Medical Cannabis Business License Applications Open

Kentucky’s medical cannabis program rollout has been accelerated, with business licence applications now being accepted.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 47 into law in March last year, which finally legalized medical cannabis in the state effective Jan. 1, 2025. But House Bill 829  subsequently became law in April this year and changed the timeline from January 2025 to July 1, 2024; allowing for earlier business applications.

The business license application period will remain open until August 31, 2024. From the applicants who meet the criteria, 48 licenses will be issued for dispensaries, 10 for processors and 16 for cultivators initially; chosen using a lottery approach expected to occur in October this year. The initial cap on licences is to avoid flooding the market with medicines, such as has happened in some other states.

Governor Beshear said a few months ago a lottery system was the fairest approach, rather than a process where parties bid against each other and only big companies with deep pockets getting a slice of the pie.

Guidelines for applying for a business license can be found here.

While business licence applications are now being accepted, patients won’t be able to apply for cannabis cards until January 1. But at least there could be locally grown and manufactured medicines available under the program by that date – unlike in a few other states where the waiting period has been up to years after medical cannabis became legal.

But in the interim, there are other arrangements in place in Kentucky. Some legal protection for medical patients was implemented back in January 2023 as a result of an executive order from the governor.

Under the new program, qualifying conditions including cancer, MS, chronic or debilitating pain, epilepsy or other seizure disorders, chronic nausea, or PTSD for now; but the list may be expanded.

Allowable medical cannabis products will include edibles, oils, tinctures, vapes, and raw plant material. Registered patients will not be permitted to grow their own cannabis, nor will they be permitted to smoke it. Raw plant materials packaged in Kentucky will carry a label stating “​not intended for consumption by smoking.”

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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