Kentucky governor expresses support for medical marijuana, but legislature fails to act in 2016


Last update: January 19, 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 2016, 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. Fortunately, Sen. Perry Clark (D-Louisville) has introduced SB 57, which would create a medical marijuana program, for consideration in the 2017 legislative session. If you live in Kentucky, please write your legislators and urge them to support the medical marijuana bill.

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. 

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. Despite concerns about access, and the fact that this legislation excludes the vast majority of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana, it is still a positive step forward.

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.