Kentucky Legalizes Medical Marijuana in Bipartisan Vote After Decade of Failed Attempts

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"I am thankful this progress has been made," said Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear ahead of signing the bill into law

Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images
Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

The state of Kentucky has legalized the use of medical marijuana.

The bill received final passage on Thursday, according to The Courier Journal. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signed it into law Friday morning after a decade of failed attempts in the state legislature.

The news makes Kentucky at least the 38th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana.

"In November, I signed an executive order to help Kentuckians with certain medical conditions, like our veterans suffering from PTSD, find safe and effective relief through medical cannabis," Beshear shared on Twitter on Thursday following the bipartisan vote.

He continued, "Today the General Assembly finally took action and passed a bill to legalize medical cannabis – something the majority of Kentuckians support. I am thankful this progress has been made, and I will proudly sign this bill into law tomorrow."

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Bruce Schreiner/AP/Shutterstock
Bruce Schreiner/AP/Shutterstock

Speaking just before signing the legislation into law, Beshear said in a press conference on Friday that the news will come as a "huge relief" to many families.

He said, "I want to thank the many advocates who have fought hard for this day on behalf of their own health needs and others.'"

The House has passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana twice in the last three years, but the state Senate had previously failed to approve the proposals, according to Forbes.

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Under Senate Bill 47, patients with at least six medical conditions will be eligible to receive a medical marijuana card in Kentucky's program. Some of the conditions include cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea, MS and PTSD.

Those eligible also includes anyone with a medical condition or disease that the Kentucky Center for Cannabis at the University of Kentucky deems appropriate.

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Card holders, who have to be 18 years old or a caretaker for an eligible child, are prohibited from smoking medical marijuana.

Under the bill, the program will launch by January 2025, according to Forbes.

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