Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a medical cannabis bill on Friday, one day after lawmakers sent it to his desk.
The Kentucky House voted 66-33 on Thursday, the final day of the legislative session, to advance the bill, SB 47. A path was cleared for the bill when the Senate unexpectedly passed it two weeks ago.
“Last night, the General Assembly delivered,” Beshear said on Friday, moments before he signed the bill, referencing his calls for legislative action on the issue.
Days before the Senate passed the bill, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, the tone around the bill shifted a bit. Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, who previously opposed medical cannabis, praised the bill’s “narrowly focused approach” and backed it.
Beshear has for years pushed lawmakers to send him a medical cannabis bill. Last year, he formed the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee that traveled across the state to hear how Kentuckians felt about medical cannabis. The Committee found overwhelming support, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time.
In November, Besehar signed an executive order to allow Kentucky residents with certain conditions, including PTSD or a terminal diagnosis, to “possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions.meet specific requirements will be able to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis to treat their medical conditions.”
However, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, this still didn’t create a legal, in-state supply.
SB 47 will create a full medical cannabis program. Licenses will be made available for cultivation, processing, and retail, for example. While the bill explicitly states that medical cannabis cannot be smoked, only vaporized, cannabis flowers can still be sold so long as the package reads that the product is “not intended for consumption by smoking.”
Editor’s note: this story, originally published Thursday evening, was updated to reflect that Gov. Beshear signed the bill.