Kentucky governor inching ever-closer towards medical cannabis legalization and out-of-state crop sales

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Kentucky should “definitely move forward with medical cannabis,” Governor Andy Beshear is quoted as saying during a recently televised discussion.

The interview with reporters from Evansville, Indiana-located TV station WEVV saw the governor say that it is “past time” for Kentucky to legalize cannabis for medical purposes.

What’s more, the interview involved Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky sharing his opinion on the subject of more encompassing legislation that would enable adults aged 21+ to cultivate and possess cannabis without a doctor’s recommendation.

In its medicinal form, Kentucky’s governor believes that the plant can offer relief for people who might otherwise seek out more harmful substances. Although the State House approved a medical cannabis bill in early 2021, it fell flat in the Senate. 

Fortunately, hope for legalization prevails, with Beshear saying that he is keen on the prospect of decriminalization. However, conversations are about as far as he is willing to go on the recreational side of the spectrum.

Kentucky Governor wants farmers to sell their cannabis crops to other states

According to the Governor of Kentucky, medical cannabis is “the future.” He envisions farmers being an important part of that bright future, not only to cultivate the plant but also, to sell it to other states for profit.

Specifically, the politician believes that Kentucky is in a prime position to reap the rewards of policy change. 

“Kentucky and our topography, our farmers could benefit significantly from legalization of medicinal cannabis and then allowing them to grow medicinal cannabis for other states,” he is quoted as saying.

Beshear feels that it’s high time that Kentucky joins many other U.S. states in “doing the right thing.” In January, he prompted lawmakers to approve cannabis reform during a State of the Commonwealth address.

“It is past time” to legalize medical cannabis, says Kentucky’s governor, who also noted that the green leafy plant may offer some respite for people who may otherwise seek out “more damaging substances.”

The cannabis plant’s history in Kentucky

Cannabis was illegal in Kentucky up until the year 2014, at which point hemp cultivation was made legal with the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. 

During the same year, Gov. Beshear signed Senate Bill 124 into effect. This law permitted patients to consume non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) products with a written order from a qualified healthcare practitioner or doctor.

It was in the year 1775 that the first ever crop of hemp – a type of cannabis that generally doesn’t grow with more than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC – was cultivated close to Danville on Clarks Run Creek. 

Fast-forward to the late 18th century and pioneers started growing hemp near settlement’s specifically for the purpose of creating fiber. The material was used to produce various textiles, rope, thread and twine. 

So popular did hemp become that between the years 1790 and 1800, the plant was considered “the most valuable commodity” produced in all of Kentucky. The State’s Bluegrass region emerged as a primary hub for hemp exports and farming by the early 1800’s.