The state of Kentucky legalized medical cannabis in 2023, through a Legislative bill, SB 47, 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. Access to medical cannabis is through state licensed businesses that are allowed to grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis.
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When to Apply
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KENTUCKY MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES
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.
HOW TO START A MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN KENTUCKY
To obtain a marijuana business license in Kentucky, you will be required to submit an application. As part of the application, some of the plans you will need to include the following:
- Security Plan.
- Environmental Impact Plan.
- Quality Control and Quality Assurance Plan.
- Business History Plan.
- Financial Plan.
- Community Benefits Plan.
- Research Plan.
- Cultivation, Manufacturing and/or Dispensing Plan.
- Labor Compliance Plan.
- Staffing and Training Plan.
Schedule for a complimentary 15-min consult with our licensing/application team to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
ENHANCED OVERVIEW OF MARIJUANA IN KENTUCKY
On March 31, 2023, The governor of Kentucky signed a bill to legalize marijuana, making the state the 38th in the U.S. to enact the reform. Just one day after the House approved the legislation from Sen. Stephen West (R), Gov. Andy Beshear (D) fulfilled his pledge to sign in into law. 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 – there is no social equity program.
A local government may:
- Enact ordinances not in conflict with the cabinet’s administrative regulations, regulating the time, place, and manner of cannabis business operations, except that a local government shall not enact ordinances that impose an undue burden or make cannabis business 8 operations unreasonable or impractical;
- Prohibit all cannabis business operations within its territory through the passage of an ordinance;
- Enact resolutions directing that the question of prohibiting cannabis businesses from operating within its territory be submitted to the voters of its territory at the next regular election.
Qualifying Medical Conditions:
- Any type or form of cancer regardless of stage;
- Chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain;
- Epilepsy or any other intractable seizure disorder;
- Multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, or spasticity;
- Chronic nausea or cyclical vomiting syndrome that has proven resistant to other conventional medical treatments;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
KENTUCKY MARIJUANA TIMELINE
2023 – Kentucky legalized medical cannabis.
2024 – Regulations will need to be finalized by January 1.
2025 – Kentucky medical cannabis legislation goes into effect.
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"Sara’s success speaks for itself. Our company continues to engage Sara for ongoing consulting and her advice remains solid and relevant to our growth."Owner, Firefly Dispensaries in Pennsylvania.
"Working with Sara was a pleasure. We don’t know how we would have gotten through the application process without her."Arizona Vertically Integrated Facility Owner