Looking at the impact Ohio’s marijuana law has on Kentucky

Kentucky’s neighbor to the north just took a big stride in the cannabis industry.
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s neighbor to the north just took a big stride in the cannabis industry. People in Ohio voted to legalize recreational marijuana use.

RELATED: Ohio votes to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, becoming 24th state to do so

Under Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order that was issued in 2022, Kentuckians with one of 21 severe medical conditions are able to travel across state lines to get medical marijuana.

This year, Governor Beshear signed Senate Bill 47, which made the use and sale of medical marijuana legal in the state starting in 2025.

“It shows that the tide of public opinion on cannabis legalization is undeniably turning. Across the nation, people are more and more expressing their support for them. As advocates for Kentucky, it’s our responsibility to listen to the voices of our constituents and acknowledge their evolving views.” Executive Director for Kentucky NORML, Matthew Bratcher, said.

Bratcher says this legislative session, they will continue advocating for the reform of marijuana laws. That includes fighting for expansion in the medical program along with social justice reform.

“So we’re going to go, and we’re going to talk affirmative defense with some legislators to try to get some more patient protections in place. We’ll have time between when the registration opens and when the dispensaries open, so we want to make sure that the patients that are registered and waiting for dispensaries are safe to travel to and from legal markets.” Bratcher said.

He says a lot of people have spoken to their organization about wanting to see a regulated industry and seeing a change like that in Ohio can help Kentuckians look at the topic differently.

“Kentucky should take a thoughtful approach and consider the desires of its residents as we navigate a path forward on cannabis policy.” He said.

Bratcher adds that there will be a big economic impact as well, and we may start to see a lot of revenue come into Ohio once the legalization takes effect.

He says the cannabis industry isn’t just about legalization but also unlocking economic potential for Kentucky through job creation, tax revenue, and investment opportunities.