Press Release

Kentucky Becomes 38th State To Legalize Medical Cannabis

Mar 31, 2023

Kentucky Becomes 38th State To Legalize Medical Cannabis

Friday, March 31, 2023

Contact: Violet Cavendish

Frankfort, KY — Governor Andy Beshear (D) has signed SB 47 into law, making Kentucky the 38th state to legalize medical cannabis for patients with debilitating conditions.

“Kentuckians who are suffering will finally be able to have access to safe, legal medical cannabis. We applaud the Kentucky legislature for recognizing the value of medical cannabis and passing legislation that will help provide relief and meet the needs of patients with serious medical conditions throughout the state, and are also grateful for the governor’s championing of this compassionate issue,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project.

Regulations are due by July 1, 2024, and the law will take effect on January 1, 2025. SB 47 does not allow cannabis smoking, but it allows raw cannabis and vaporization. The list of qualifying conditions includes PTSD and “chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain.” It also provides for additional conditions to be approved administratively. For more details, a summary of the legislation is available here

A February 2020 Kentucky Health Issues poll found that 90% of Kentuckians support medical cannabis.

Thirty-eight states — including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and now Kentucky — have laws providing the framework for patients with debilitating medical conditions to have access to regulated cannabis products under a doctor’s care.


Founded in 1995, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is the nation’s leading cannabis policy reform organization. MPP has played a central role in passing dozens of cannabis policy reforms in states across the country, including 10 successful cannabis legalization campaigns, and also works to advance federal reforms.

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