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420 with CNW — Kentucky to Start Receiving Applications from Medical Marijuana Companies

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Businesses in Kentucky looking to grow, process or sell medical cannabis can start submitting applications for licenses on Monday, July 1, 2024. Governor Andy Beshear announced this as part of an expedited effort to have products on the market by early 2025.

Healthcare providers, including advanced-practice registered nurses and doctors, can also start applying to certify qualified patients for purchasing medical cannabis. The process will be overseen by the state’s Board of Medical Licensure and Board of Nursing.

The state’s medical marijuana program is officially scheduled to kick off on Jan. 1, 2025. The legislation, passed in 2023 with bipartisan support in the GOP-dominated state assembly, legalizes medical marijuana for individuals with a range of debilitating conditions. Beshear signed the law promptly, and his administration has been diligently working on the program’s regulations ever since.

To accelerate the process, Beshear signed additional measures this spring, advancing the timeline for marijuana business registration by six months.

To help applicants, the state has made several YouTube seminars, a handbook for business license applications and other materials available. Companies have until August 30 to submit their licensing applications. According to Beshear, the objective is to have medical marijuana accessible by January, coinciding with the legalization of these goods.

Medical marijuana cards will be available for application starting the first of  the year to patients with qualifying diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, chronic epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as chronic pain and nausea.

Eric Friedlander, the secretary of Kentucky’s Health and Family Services, underlined the commitment of the state to providing affordable and safe access to medical marijuana for people with qualifying conditions.

Beshear noted in April that the first round of company licenses would be distributed by the state through a lottery. The program’s goal, according to Sam Flynn, director of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana, is to guarantee that marijuana licensing is equitable, open and focused on the needs of customers.

Initially, the state will issue 48 store licenses, distributed among 11 regions, with each area receiving at least four licenses. Most counties will be limited to one dispensary license each, except for the counties housing Lexington and Louisville, which will be allocated two licenses each.

The first wave of the license lottery is scheduled for October 2024. A restricted number of licenses for cannabis cultivation and processing will also be issued. Beshear mentioned that the license caps are designed to prevent market saturation, which could negatively impact both patients and businesses. The program has the flexibility to expand based on demand and the inclusion of additional qualifying conditions.

These developments in Kentucky are likely to be welcome news to the entire cannabis industry, including entities such as Green Thumb Industries Inc. (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF), since they mean that the rolling back of prohibition is underway in yet another U.S. state and the people there will soon have the option of using medical marijuana products to manage some of the illnesses they face for which medical cannabis is helpful.

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