The State of Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

2020 Grade: F

2015 2016 2017 2018-2019 2020

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations:

2019 was the first year Kentucky’s General Assembly put forward a bill to legalize medical cannabis. HB 136 was passed by Kentucky’s House chamber in February but has stalled in the Senate since the outbreak of COVID.21 As Kentucky looks to 2021 ASA encourages state lawmakers to initiate work focused on construction of a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Such a program should provide legal protections to patients related to employment, housing, education and family law. The program should also authorize an in-state production system for lab-tested medical cannabis and cannabis products that can be made available to patients at legal retailers. ASA also recommends that lawmakers authorize patients to cultivate cannabis at home to reduce costs to patients.


In 2014, the Kentucky legislature revised the definition of marijuana under state law to create legal protections for patients who use CBD as part of an approved clinical trial or on the written order of “a physician practicing at a hospital or affiliated with a Kentucky public university having a college or a school of medicine.” Although the law does not limit the use of CBD to one particular condition, Kentucky fails to provide authorization for a CBD production or retail system, making the program completely ineffective.

In September 2017, a Kentucky judge ruled that Kentucky has a good reason to “curtail citizens’ possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug.” (Seum et. al, v. Bevin) On the other hand, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has called for a taskforce to look into possible medical cannabis legalization, though the task force itself has no legislative authority.

Patient Feedback

Surveyed patients report that they are frustrated that no progress has happened in their state.