Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Kentucky

  1. Kentucky Cannabis
  2. Kentucky Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Kentucky

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Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card in Kentucky

The passage of Senate Bill 47 in 2023 created the Kentucky Medical Marijuana Program, which is set to launch by January 2025. Obtaining a registry identification card (medical cannabis card) in the state once the program launches will provide the following benefits:

Legal Protection

The medical cannabis law, which will become effective in January 2025, protects medical marijuana cardholders from criminal prosecution when found with cannabis products. Before the new cannabis law, the Governor issued an executive order in November 2022 allowing eligible patients to possess cannabis products purchased legally from neighboring states. When carrying marijuana, patients must have their medical marijuana cards or medical recommendations from state-licensed physicians. Kentucky prohibits recreational marijuana. As such, residents without medical recommendations or MMJ cards may face jail sentences for illegally possessing cannabis.

Access for Minors

Eligible patients under the age of 18 certified by approved physicians can possess medical cannabis products in Kentucky. However, caregivers, aged 21 years or older, are required to apply for medical marijuana cards to purchase marijuana for minors.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Kentucky

Here are some of the disadvantages of having Kentucky’s medical cannabis card.

Firearm Prohibition

Although Kentucky allows open and concealed carry of firearms without licenses, the state’s medical marijuana law does not protect medical marijuana users who own guns. According to the Gun Control Act, it is illegal for cannabis users in the U.S. to own or purchase guns.

Driving Restrictions

Kentucky enacted SB 228 in 2023 to specify the THC limit for motorists who are eligible marijuana consumers. According to the bill, medical marijuana consumers with up to 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC in their bloodstream while driving may be charged with marijuana DUI offenses. In Kentucky, first-time DUI offenders face up to a 30-day jail sentence and/or up to a $500 fine payment. Frequent offenders within five years risk up to six months imprisonment and possible driver’s license revocations. Due to federal restrictions on marijuana, qualifying medical cannabis patients are not eligible to obtain Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Kentucky.

Annual Renewal

The Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services has not started issuing medical marijuana cards to qualifying patients. Generally, patients and caregivers will be required to renew their medical marijuana registrations. They are also expected to make appointments with licensed physicians before possessing cannabis products. Such medical appointments may cost between $150 and $400 per visit.

Employment Restrictions

The medical marijuana law in Kentucky allows employers to restrict cannabis use and possession for their employees, including qualifying patients. According to SB 47, Kentucky employers can set up zero-tolerance drug rules and drug-testing policies to prohibit cannabis impairment while on the job. The law protects employers from wrongful termination lawsuits filed by employees who are medical marijuana cardholders. Employers can also restrict MMJ users from using certain equipment in the workplace.

Federal Prohibitions

Medical cannabis users in Kentucky who are federal employees may lose their jobs if they fail drug tests or are found possessing cannabis. This is because federal workplaces typically perform drug tests for employees in compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. Also, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal laws. Hence, it is illegal to possess or consume marijuana on federal lands in Kentucky, including federally subsidized housing units.

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