Kentucky Governor Introduces Lottery System For Medical Marijuana Licence

Home » Kentucky Governor Introduces Lottery for Medical Marijuana Licence
Garry Stewart
Written By Steve Brandon

April 19, 2024

Table of Content
  1. Introduction
  2. Take Away
kentucky governor introduces lottery system for mmj licence

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced Thursday that the state will use a lottery system to distribute licences to businesses interested in joining the medical cannabis program. This decision is meant to make the selection process fair and transparent. This program will launch at the start of 2025.

Speaking at his news conference, Governor Beshear emphasised the lottery’s role in providing equal opportunities to all qualifying applicants, thus eliminating any potential for unfair advantages through lobbying efforts.

The governor explained that it makes things fairer by reducing or stopping legal battles. Instead of a system where only big companies can participate by offering the most money, it gives everyone who meets the criteria a chance.”

The state will initially issue 48 medical cannabis dispensary licences, distributed across 11 regions. Sam Flynn, the executive director of the medical cannabis program, highlighted the objective of minimising travel times for patients with qualifying health conditions.

kentucky governor introduces lottery system for mmj licence

In the plan, every area will get at least four dispensary licence. But big cities like Louisville and Lexington might have two licences each, with some exceptions.

In addition to dispensary licence, limited numbers of cultivator and processor licences will be granted. Beshear explained that limiting the number of licences is to prevent too many cannabis products flooding the market, which could harm businesses and patients if there’s more than enough to supply.

“This program is not about saturating every neighbourhood with dispensaries,” Beshear clarified. “It’s about setting up a system that’s easy to handle, making sure it’s safe and easy for eligible patients to get what they need in every area.”

While the program’s initial scope is conservative, Beshear hinted at the potential for expansion based on demand and the addition of qualifying medical conditions might also be done in the future.

On Wednesday it was seen that the governor signed legislation accelerating the timeline for licensing cannabis businesses by six months and the applications will be provided between July to August. This move is expected to facilitate the availability of at least limited supplies by January, when medical cannabis becomes legal in the state.

Kentucky’s embrace of medical marijuana marks a significant milestone after years of advocacy by supporters. Last year, lawmakers passed legislation legalising medical cannabis for individuals suffering from various debilitating illnesses. However, the bill did not include provisions for expanding the list of qualifying conditions.

Local governments and educational institutions retain the option to opt out of the state program, ensuring flexibility at the community level.

Take Away

Kentucky Governor Beshear introduced a lottery system for medical cannabis licences to ensure fairness. Initially, 48 dispensary licences will be issued across 11 regions, with at least four per area. Limited cultivator and processor licences will also be granted. The focus is on safety and accessibility, with potential for expansion based on demand. Legislation has been passed to accelerate licensing, aiming for availability by January. This follows years of advocacy, with local flexibility in opting out of the state program.

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