Sports betting and medical marijuana become law in Kentucky

Two monumental pieces of legislation were signed into law by Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday morning.

Legally placing bets on sporting events and use of marijuana for certain medical conditions are two issues that saw passage late on the final night of session and have now been signed by the governor.

At the press conference, Beshear thanked legislators and advocates for their hard work on the issues and said Kentucky has a lot to celebrate.

On sports betting, the governor said it is time for Kentucky to join so many other states who have passed similar laws and added the policy will help continue to improve Kentucky’s business climate by bringing new jobs, creating new revenue, and helping with tourism.

Bill sponsor Rep. Michael Meredith called the legislation a team effort that was accomplished through strong leadership in both the House and the Senate from both parties.

“This might be the most bipartisan bill passed this session, proving what we can do together,” Meredith said. “This new law moves an industry that has existed in the shadows for many years into the light with a regulatory framework everyone can be proud of.”

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts released a statement Friday morning thanking the General Assembly for their action on sports wagering and other bills important to Kentucky’s competitiveness.

“We thank and congratulate the General Assembly for their work to make Kentucky more competitive throughout the 2023 session. Starting with the passage of House Bill 1 to lower Kentucky’s individual income tax the first week of session and finishing strong with legislation legalizing sports wagering and supporting the bourbon industry, lawmakers took significant steps to support Kentucky’s economic growth. We applaud the strong leadership in the House and Senate on issues important to the business community!”

The press conference also celebrated the successful passage of legislation to allow medical cannabis to be prescribed for a specific list of conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, chronic nausea and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bill sponsor Sen. Steve West said one of the prime reasons he helped push this legislation was because of the addiction crisis facing Kentucky.

”Once this bill is implemented, if you or someone in your family has any of the conditions listed in the bill, you will now have a second option and won’t have to rely on opioids,” West said. 

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Jacqueline Pitts
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