Kentucky governor expresses support for medical marijuana, but legislature fails to act in 2017


Last update: September 7, 2017


Kentucky voters elected Matt Bevin as governor in 2015 after he expressed support for medical marijuana on the campaign trail. Bevin acknowledged “there is unequivocal medical evidence” that medical marijuana is beneficial, while his opponent was dismissive.

In both 2016 and 2017, legislators in both the House and Senate introduced medical marijuana legislation, but the bills did not receive serious consideration, and the legislature adjourned without taking action. Please let your lawmakers know you want Kentucky to join the 29 other states — including West Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois — with compassionate medical marijuana laws.

If you or a loved one suffer from a debilitating illness and could benefit from marijuana, or if you’re a medical professional, a law enforcement official, a clergy member, or a member of the legal community, please email [email protected] to see how you can be of special help in advocating for medical marijuana in Kentucky. Please include your address or nine-digit ZIP code.

Bill introduced to end marijuana prohibition in Kentucky


In January 2017, Sen. Perry Clark introduced SB 76, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults in the Commonwealth and create a regulated and taxed system. The bill did not receive a hearing or a vote before the legislature adjourned in late March.

In September, Gov. Matt Bevin said marijuana legalization and regulation “is not going to happen while I’m governor.”

Lawmakers pass, governor signs limited CBD bill


On Thursday, April 10, 2014, Kentucky then-Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a proposal that is intended to allow patients to use cannabidiol (“CBD,” a non-psychoactive component of marijuana) if directed by a physician. The new law went into effect immediately with his signature, but it is extremely unlikely it will actually result in patients being able to access CBD unless it is revised by the legislature. Unfortunately, the legislation excludes the vast majority of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana.

For more information on this law, please see our summary of SB 124.

ACLU study shows Kentucky’s harsh marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates


A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Kentucky are six times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Please write to your legislators and ask them to stop arresting people for possessing marijuana.