Kentucky Medical Marijuana Overview
On March 31, 2023, the Governor of Kentucky signed a bill, SB 47, to legalize medical marijuana, making the state the 38th in the U.S. to enact the reform. The bill establishes a structure to regulate the medical cannabis program, including dispensaries, cultivators, practitioners, processors, and products and issuing identification cards to patients and caregivers. The bill establishes the authorization process for practitioners to recommend the use of medicinal cannabis and establishes the cannabis business license application process and requirements. Most notably, the bill wouldn’t take effect until the start of 2025, to allow state health officials time to craft regulations to oversee the program.
Kentucky Medical Marijuana License Information
The Cabinet of Health and Family Services (“Cabinet”) is responsible for regulating the program and shall create licensure application fees, initial licensure fees, and licensure renewal fees, allowing persons to operate a cannabis business. There are no caps to the number of licenses statewide, leaving limitations for cannabis business to local municipalities (cities, towns, etc.)
Cannabis Cultivator – an entity that is licensed to acquire, possess, plant, cultivate, raise, harvest, trim, or store cannabis seeds, seedlings, plants, or raw plant material; Deliver, transport, transfer, supply, or sell raw plant material or related supplies to other licensed cannabis businesses in this state; or sell cannabis seeds or seedlings to similar entities that are licensed.
- Tier I cannabis cultivator: A Tier I cultivator shall not exceed an indoor growth area of two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet.
- Tier II cannabis cultivator: A Tier II cultivator shall not exceed an indoor growth area of ten thousand 16 (10,000) square feet
- Tier III cannabis cultivator: A Tier III cultivator shall not exceed an indoor growth area of twenty-five 18 thousand (25,000) square feet
- Tier IV cannabis cultivator: A Tier IV cultivator shall not exceed an indoor growth area of fifty 20 thousand (50,000) square feet
Cannabis Processor – a licensed entity who may acquire or purchase raw plant material from a cultivator, processor, or producer in this state; Possess, process, prepare, manufacture, manipulate, blend, prepare, or package medicinal cannabis; Transfer, transport, supply, or selling medicinal cannabis and related supplies to other cannabis businesses; or Sell cannabis seeds or seedlings to similar entities that are licensed to cultivate cannabis
Cannabis dispensary – an entity who is licensed to acquire or possess medicinal cannabis from a cultivator, processor, or producer; Acquire or possess medicinal cannabis accessories or educational material; Supply, sell, dispense, distribute, or deliver medicinal cannabis, medicinal cannabis accessories, and educational material to cardholders or other dispensaries; Sell cannabis seeds to similar entities that are licensed to cultivate cannabis. Acquire, accept, or receive medicinal cannabis products from a cardholder, except that a dispensary may not offer anything of monetary value in return for medicinal cannabis received from a cardholder.
Cannabis Producer (cultivation & processing capabilities) – means an entity who is licensed to acquire, possess, plant, cultivate, raise, harvest, trimm, or store cannabis seeds, seedlings, plants, or raw plant material; Deliver, transport, transfer, supply, or selling raw plant material, medicinal cannabis products, or related supplies to other licensed cannabis businesses; Sell cannabis seeds or seedlings to similar entities that are licensed to cultivate cannabis in this state or in any other jurisdiction; Acquire or purchase raw plant material from a cultivator; or possess, process, prepare, manufacture, manipulate, blend, prepare, or package medicinal cannabis. Cannabis Producers are limited to an indoor cannabis growth area of fifty thousand (50,000) square feet. A cannabis business licensed as a producer may operate cultivation and processing activities at separate locations, but shall not operate more than one (1) cultivation and one (1) processing facility per license.
Cannabis Safety Compliance facility (testing & education) – means an entity who is licensed to acquire or possessing medicinal cannabis obtained from cardholders or cannabis businesses; Testing of medicinal cannabis produced, including testing for cannabinoid content, pesticides, mold, contamination, vitamin E acetate, and other prohibited additives Transport medicinal cannabis that was produced by cannabis businesses; The production or sale of approved educational materials related to the use of medicinal cannabis; The production, sale, or transportation of equipment or materials other than medicinal cannabis, including but not limited to lab equipment and packaging materials that are used by cannabis businesses and cardholders, to cardholders or cannabis businesses licensed;; Training cardholders and cannabis business agents. Training may include but need not be limited to: The safe and efficient cultivation, harvesting, packaging, labeling, and distribution of medicinal cannabis; Security and inventory accountability procedures; Up-to-date scientific and medical research findings related to use of medicinal cannabis; Receiving compensation for actions allowed under this section; Engaging in any noncannabis-related business activities that are not otherwise prohibited or restricted by state law.
Kentucky Medical Marijuana Timeline
Kentucky is poised for transformative changes in its approach to medical cannabis. On March 31, 2023, the state legalized medical cannabis, recognizing the immense potential it holds for patient well-being. Looking ahead, the government is diligently working to finalize comprehensive regulations by July 1, 2024, with the goal of establishing a robust and well-regulated framework. The Kentucky medical cannabis program is scheduled to launch by January 2025, marking an important milestone in providing patients with access to the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis in a safe and controlled manner. This exciting journey signifies a bright future for medical cannabis in Kentucky.
Are you interested in obtaining a cannabis business license in Kentucky? Call us to speak with an industry expert at 602-290-9424.
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