Kentucky Marijuana Business Licenses

Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

On March 31, 2023, Governor Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 47 into law making Kentucky the 38th state in the country to approve the medical use of marijuana for its qualifying patients. Regulations are due by July 1, 2024, and the law will take effect on January 1, 2025. The list of qualifying conditions includes PTSD and “chronic, severe, intractable, or debilitating pain.” It also provides for additional conditions to be approved administratively. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is responsible for establishing regulations for the program and issuing business licenses under Senate Bill 47. The final policies and regulations must be completed by July 1, 2024.

In April 2024, HB 829 was signed into law to expedite the licensing process for medical marijuana businesses to ensure prompt retail sales by January 1, 2025. This new law not only prioritizes licensees who are based in Kentucky and are already hemp growers in good standing with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, but also allows city and county governments to opt out of the programs by the end of the year through an ordinance or voter referendum, which can potentially void a business awarded a license within that jurisdiction.

Prior to the signing of SB 47, HB 333 authorized CBD products approved as a prescription medication by the FDA and legalized the sale and consumption in 2017. Hemp-derived CBD with 0.3% THC or less is available from retail stores in the state. Up until the signing of SB 47, Kentucky utilized SB 124, which enabled access to CBD for medical treatment, and made an exemption for medical marijuana use in compassionate use programs and FDA-approved research studies, as a guide for medical marijuana.

Authorized Forms of Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

Marijuana edibles, tinctures and topical products are authorized by the bill. Patients can possess a 10-day supply of cannabis on their person and a 30-day supply at home. SB 47 does not allow patients to smoke marijuana, although it does allow for the sale of unprocessed cannabis flower for vaping.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

Cancer; Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease; Epilepsy; Intractable Seizures; Parkinson’s disease; Crohn’s disease; Multiple Sclerosis; Sickle Cell Anemia; Severe and Chronic Pain; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome; Neuropathies; Severe Arthritis; Hepatitis C; Fibromyalgia; Intractable Pain; Muscular Dystrophy; Huntington’s Disease; Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); Glaucoma; A terminal illness.

Upcoming Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (“Cabinet”) will begin accepting applications for various medical marijuana licenses from July 1, 2024 – August 31, 2024. The following licenses will be available to apply for the first round:

  • Cultivators
    • Tier I – 10
    • Tier II – 4
    • Tier III – 2
  • Processor – 10
  • Dispensaries – 48 (additional limitations based on region)
  • Safety Compliance Facilities (Testing Laboratories) – Unlimited

The Notice of Application sets forth the type of licenses that can be applied for (as stated above) and the number of licenses in each category available at the time of applying. If the number of applications exceeds the max number of licenses available in a specific application round, the Cabinet will use a lottery system.

Applicants can apply for multiple licenses in one (1) cannabis business license type (i.e., cultivator, processor, safety compliance facility, or dispensary) under the following conditions: (i) Each application within a license type must contain a separate and distinct physical address and the applicant shall not use the same capital to satisfy the capital requirements for more than one (1) application; (ii) For cultivator licenses, only one (1) application may be submitted for each cultivator tier; and (iii) For dispensary licenses, only one (1) application may be submitted for each medical cannabis region. However, applicants cannot apply for more than one (1) cannabis business license type (i.e.) an applicant cannot apply for both a dispensary and processor license.

Now is the time to get started to join Kentucky’s ever-flourishing medical marijuana industry! If you are interested in acquiring a Kentucky Medical Marijuana Business License, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options.

Last updated May 28th, 2024

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