Kentucky Senate Passes Historic Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis
On March 16th, 2023, the Kentucky Senate passed a bill to legalize medical cannabis, making it the first state to do so in the United States. The House had previously approved similar bills in past sessions but they had always stalled in the Senate. The new law allows for medicinal, sacramental, and recreational use of cannabis by adults age 21 and over. It will also allow for the purchase of cannabis products from licensed sellers and possession of up to 8 ounces of marijuana, six mature marijuana plants, and six seedling plants. In addition, it will establish a licensing process for recreational marijuana dispensaries, commercial growers, processors, and transporters. A 15% state excise tax will be placed on each sale, with the surplus revenue going towards student services, drug addiction treatment programs, courts, local government, and general revenue.
However, private consumption, sales, and transportation of cannabis are still prohibited. Additionally, cannabis use cannot be used against applications for public assistance, hinder gun ownership, or used against someone in child custody disputes. The Office of Cannabis Regulation is currently working on developing rules and regulations governing the cannabis industry in the Territory before the new law can be fully enacted. Furthermore, people under 18 who possess marijuana will be subject to a substance misuse assessment, while those between the ages of 18 and 21 will face a violation for simple possession.
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