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Kentucky Opens Applications for Medical Marijuana Businesses

It’s off to the races in Kentucky for all things medical cannabis related; and they are ahead of schedule! The licensing process may be akin to the Kentucky Derby - a race to the finish line.


  • 48 dispensary licenses across 11 regions, with each region receiving at least four licenses. And it’s a lottery, initially.


June 28, 2024 - Kentucky is set to make significant strides in medical marijuana accessibility. Governor Andy Beshear recently announced that the Kentucky Medical Cannabis Program will commence accepting license applications for medical marijuana businesses starting Monday, July 1, a notable six months ahead of the initially planned schedule!


Kentucky Opens Applications for Medical Marijuana Businesses
Kentucky Opens Applications for Medical Marijuana Businesses

Expedited Licensing Process for Medical Marijuana Businesses


From July 1, businesses interested in growing, processing, or selling medical marijuana in Kentucky can start applying for permits. This accelerated timeline aims to make medical marijuana products available to patients by early 2025. The application window will remain open until the end of August, providing ample time for interested parties to submit their proposals.


Cannabis Business Summary Pages



Availability and Access for Patients


By January 1, 2025, patients with qualifying medical conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea, or post-traumatic stress disorder can start the application process for obtaining medical marijuana cards.


Eric Friedlander, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, emphasized the administration's commitment: “The Beshear administration is dedicated to ensuring that Kentuckians with qualifying medical conditions have safe, affordable access to medical cannabis.”

Certification for Healthcare Providers


Healthcare providers, including doctors and nurses, will also be able to apply to certify eligible patients for medical marijuana use. The Kentucky Medical Cannabis Program has released various resources, including YouTube webinars and a comprehensive Business Licensing Application Guide, all accessible through the Kentucky Office of Medical Cannabis website.


Fair and Transparent Licensing System


Sam Flynn, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Medical Cannabis, assured that the program would ensure a fair, transparent, and customer-service-oriented licensing process.


  • In April, Beshear announced that the initial round of business licenses would be distributed via a lottery system.

  • According to AP News, the state plans to issue 48 dispensary licenses across 11 regions, with each region receiving at least four licenses.

  • Counties like Louisville and Lexington will be allocated two licenses each.

  • The first lottery for these licenses is slated for October.


Controlled Market Growth


A limited number of licenses for growing and processing medical marijuana will also be issued. Beshear’s administration has implemented these license caps to prevent market oversaturation, which could adversely affect both businesses and patients. However, the program’s capacity can be expanded based on market demand and the inclusion of additional qualifying medical conditions.


Legislative Background and Implementation


The earlier start date for business licensing was made possible by House Bill 829, signed by Beshear, which shifted the licensing start date from January 1, 2025, to July 1, 2024. Kentucky became the 38th state to legalize medical marijuana in 2023 through Senate Bill 47, signed into law by Beshear on March 31. The bill’s approval followed several previous attempts to legalize medical marijuana in the state.


In January, ten regulations were established for the operation of medical marijuana businesses, including cultivators, processors, producers, dispensaries, and safety compliance facilities. In March, five additional regulations were introduced to guide the process for Kentuckians with qualifying medical conditions to become cardholders. Before this, Beshear had issued an executive order in November 2022, allowing Kentuckians with specific medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana products from states where it was legal.


Call to Action


Ready to explore the benefits of medical cannabis? Don’t wait—start your journey towards better health today. Apply to get or renew your medical cannabis card now and join the growing community of patients benefiting from medical marijuana.


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