Gov. Beshear legalizes medicinal marijuana for select medical conditions

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Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 6:42 PM CST
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HENDERSON CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Kentuckians who have waited for medicinal marijuana to be legalized don’t have to wait much longer.

An executive order signed by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear will take effect come the new year.

“For many Kentuckians suffering from chronic medical conditions, there’s another way to manage the pain without the threat of addiction,” Governor Beshear said.

The executive order announcement came Tuesday after months of research throughout the state by Gov. Beshear’s appointed Medical Cannabis Committee.

“Medical providers are prescribing opioids and pain killers that are not providing relief,” Governor Beshear said. “Kentuckians are fearful of falling into addiction.”

Advocates of the cause have been on board for quite some time. Especially Deborah DeSpain, a Henderson Co. native.

“As a cancer patient, I have purchased it and illegally brought it across the state line,” DeSpain said. “I know that I’m doing it, but it’s my lifeline.”

DeSpain says that she’s not alone.

“Most of us who have issues with medical conditions, it just makes us not a criminal anymore,” DeSpain said. “We shouldn’t have been one to begin with.”

The executive order allows Kentuckians who qualify to buy medicinal marijuana in a state where it is sold and bring it back to home.

That means they can buy it in neighboring states such as Illinois, West Virginia, and Ohio, where medicinal marijuana is sold.

“Governor Beshear has listened to us, we’ve spoken to him with our hearts,” DeSpain said.

Although it isn’t available for sale in Kentucky, Debbie says it’s a step in the right direction, and a change definitely worth celebrating.

“January 1 we will have to have a cannabis party in Henderson County,” DeSpain said. “There’s no way we can’t.”

To qualify under the terms of the executive order, Gov. Beshear advocated for 23 medical conditions.

Those qualifying conditions can be found on page four of the executive order here.