LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Hemp has drastically changed Dee Dee Taylor’s life for the better. Before using cannabis products, Taylor’s husband experienced two to four seizures a month.

What You Need To Know

  • Jan. 1, 2023 medical cannabis will be legal for those who qualify under Gov. Beshear’s executive order

  • There are 21 medical conditions that qualify patients for medical cannabis

  • Kentuckians may face challenges purchasing medical cannabis

Taylor described how her husband made the change. “So he actually went out to Oregon and learned how to make it himself and for a long time we were making it in our basement. I was a little worried about that in the beginning, but he started using it and went 5 years seizure free,” she said.

Her husband’s situation motivated Taylor to take part in state government. Taylor now serves as a board member for the Kentucky Moms for Medical Cannabis and Gov. Beshear’s Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee.

Her efforts at the capital also inspired Taylor to open Hemp Wellness Center in 2018, to help others dealing with similar medical conditions.

“We literally lined the halls, lined the tunnel at the capitol building a couple days ago with pictures of patients and it is so moving,” Taylor explained. “To hear the stories and to know that these people who are up on this wall, they need to be able to use these products as medication.”

Starting Jan. 1 2023, Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order will take effect, allowing Kentuckians with certain medical conditions to possess and use up to 8 ounces of medical marijuana.

There are 21 medical conditions Kentuckians must be diagnosed with in order to qualify. These include cancer, ALS, epilepsy, intractable seizures, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, severe and chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, cachexia or wasting syndrome, neuropathies, severe arthritis, hepatitis C, fibromyalgia, intractable pain, muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, HIV or AIDS, glaucoma, or a terminal illness.

Although Taylor says this is a step in the right direction, there are many limitations, including how Kentuckians can purchase the product since there are no dispensaries in the state. 

Because this was done by executive order, there are still no medical marijuana laws in Kentucky. That means there’s nowhere to buy it legally. So, those who want to purchase medical marijuana will have to travel out of state.

“The closest here is recreational states, so if you’ve got Michigan or Illinois,” Taylor said. “Well then, you are taking a huge risk by driving to those states and bringing that product back across state lines. I mean marijuana is still federally illegal, could you still get into trouble for it federally? Yeah, you could,” Taylor said.

Ohio has legalized medical cannabis but does not allow people who live outside the state to use their medical dispensaries. Taylor fears the executive order will cause issues for Kentuckians who qualify.

“He has submitted palm cards for local law enforcement to know what to look for if they get pulled over here in Kentucky,” Taylor said. “Even then, you could still face charges in your individual county or what have you, go through the expense of trying to fight it, get convicted and then be pardoned.”

Kentuckians who purchase medical marijuana must have a written certification from a health care provider as well. They must also keep their receipts for marijuana they purchase.

Ultimately, Taylor hopes the executive order will force legislators to pass medical cannabis laws.