Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear recently held a press briefing detailing many of his successful actions from the past year. Among these accomplishments for his administration, Beshear discussed his move to help patients who want to use medical cannabis. “After the General Assembly failed to take action once again, I issued an executive order to allow certain Kentuckians, like veterans suffering from PTSD and those suffering from chronic and terminal conditions like cancer, to access medical cannabis. That order takes effect soon, Jan. 1, 2023,” he said.

After concluding the briefing, Beshear took questions from the press. Al Cross, a professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media who also writes for the Northern Kentucky Tribune, asked about the lack of convenience for those seeking to obtain medical cannabis.

“The executive order isn’t going to make it convenient for anyone on the medical marijuana front. What it will ensure is that they’re not a criminal,” Beshear said. “And that’s the limitations that I have in executive power and the limitations that other states have set if we don’t have our own full program. And it’s why it’s so important that the legislature go ahead and pass medical marijuana.”

Beshear shared that his administration is working on putting together regulations for Delta-8 products, which was recently ruled legal by a Northern Kentucky circuit judge. He also explained that the legislature needs to do its part to assist patients throughout the state by passing an official medical cannabis program.

“I want our people to be able to get it close to home, I don’t want them to have to drive to Illinois. That takes an act of the legislature,” Beshear said. “I am the first to admit the executive order is imperfect because the legislature should have done this a long time ago, but it’s also fluent. And just by reissuing an additional executive order, we can shore up anything that we have the ability to, as we have those discussions with other states.

Beshear mentioned that soon there will be a “palm card” issued to law enforcement next week to educate them about what the executive order accomplishes. “Also the palm card for law enforcement will be out there by Jan. 4. First, it is very simple,” Beshear briefly explained. “But just talking to the Mothers for Medical Marijuana the other day, [the] executive order is a step they find exciting and provides some comfort that they won’t be prosecuted, but it’s not the answer. But I do hope it provides pressure.”

According to WHAS11, Beshear described the palm card as a checklist for law enforcement to work through, including showing a receipt that states where a product was purchased.

Recently, advocates from Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis and Kentucky NORML spent time in the Kentucky capitol building hanging more than 350 images of patients with chronic conditions who benefitted from access to medical cannabis. Beshear visited the exhibit on Dec. 28 to meet with those advocates. “Many Kentuckians with chronic pain are suffering and searching for relief. Today I visited with Moms for Cannabis, advocates who are looking for health solutions that don’t sacrifice quality of life—something medical cannabis can deliver,” Beshear wrote on Twitter

Julie Cantwell from Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis is hoping that the legislature takes action in 2023. “Year after year, we’re overlooked, and this year we’re hoping that the legislature is going to pass a medical cannabis bill,” Cantwell told WYMT. “So, a lot of these people you see on the wall can’t make it to Frankfort, so we’re bringing the people to Frankfort.”

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