Kentuckians react to Gov. Beshear’s cannabis executive orders

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:35 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced two executive orders relating to medical marijuana in the Commonwealth.

Medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, including Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and West Virginia. All of these border the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“You can purchase cannabis to treat a medical condition in Illinois. You can use that medical cannabis in West Virginia, but while you are traveling through Kentucky, you are a criminal,” said Beshear during his Team Kentucky briefing.

These executive orders were signed after Beshear formed the “Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee” this past Summer, and after the state legislature failed to pass House Bill 136 earlier this year.

Some in the state legislature saw this as a victory for the Bluegrass state, others saw it as an abuse of power by Beshear.

Whitney Westerfield, Kentucky Senator of the 3rd District, was very vocal on Twitter in opposition to Beshear’s executive orders despite being in favor of legalizing marijuana.

“I support medical marijuana,” said Westerfield. “The fact that the legislature has not acted on it does not give the Governor power to issue an edict by executive order to suspend state law. Under state law, possession of marijuana is a criminal offense, and there is no executive order he can issue that can suspend that.”

Many people in the Bowling Green community suffer from chronic illnesses and mental health problems.

Chasity Phelps said she has experienced firsthand the effects of mental health, and says if marijuana were legalized earlier, it could have saved many lives.

“In my experience, I have seen people try to self-treat with drugs because they have a lot of mental health problems,” said Phelps. “I am not a doctor, but those people self-treating with harder drugs maybe could have benefitted from a regulated source of medical marijuana and something more affordable.”

The executive orders go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.