2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

Once again, Kentucky legislators did nothing to advance medical cannabis access for their constituents in 2021. As Kentucky looks to 2022, ASA encourages state lawmakers to finally initiate work focused on construction of a comprehensive medical cannabis program. There are a few key steps lawmakers can take to expand access to medical cannabis in their state. They can start by removing arbitrary caps on THC levels in authorized cannabis products to allow for more effective treatment. Legislators should also seek to cover patients with a diversity of health conditions through significant expansion of the state’s list of conditions eligible for cannabis treatment. ASA also encourages immediately implementing statutory protections for patients related to housing, employment, education, and parental rights.

Legislators in Kentucky should consider creating a stringent set of product safety standards, and a system of third-party labs to test the safety of products. Finally, authorizing a licensing system to support cultivation and sale of in-state medical cannabis and related products to patients is a basic requirement for medical cannabis access, but legislators should also consider permitting patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis at home for medical use. Ideally, caregivers should even have the option to become retailers themselves or to sell products tested for safety by a third-party laboratory to retailers for consumption by patients. Such a system would offer patients a greater variety of options to treat their condition, and address cost challenges cannabis patients face due to the lack of insurance coverage of cannabis products.