FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX 56) — Kentucky is now one month into an executive order allowing narrow legal protections for people who use medical marijuana. However, there’s still a lot of confusion around the order and scammers are taking advantage.
“Most of the time I talk to people, and they have a misunderstanding about what this actually does for them and then they are confused and they say what do you mean,” Lauren Bratcher, deputy director of KY NORML told FOX 56.
They can take many forms from certificates to cards. But if a potential medical marijuana patient in Kentucky is thinking about paying for some kind of official certification, none will get them very far.
“You will not be able to take this paper and take it to Ohio to a medical market and purchase in a medical dispensary, ok? Because Kentucky does not have a medical program,” Bratcher said.
Bratcher said several alleged businesses have started preying on the confusion around medical marijuana in Kentucky and fooling patients into purchasing something like an ID card
“These businesses are charging $150, $200, up to $300 for a certification,” Bratcher said. “We have looked up the addresses and found empty buildings. We have looked up the phone numbers and found out-of-state phone numbers that no one will answer,” she added.
As far as the law is concerned, it just hasn’t caught up and Bratcher said this is a legal gray area. To be clear, Kentucky issues no official documents to medical marijuana patients. Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order just extends legal protections to people who have been medically diagnosed with one of 21 conditions.
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“All we’re talking about here is a letter from your doctor that’s going to help you qualify for this pardon from the governor if you get caught,” Bratcher said.
Patients would also need proof they purchased marijuana legally in another state, though Bratcher said they still take a risk of themselves breaking federal law to carry it across state lines.
Bratcher said KY NORML will be meeting with lawmakers next month to see about what legal protections can be made in this area. For people still unsure about if they qualify for medical marijuana and have more questions, they can visit KY NORML’s frequently asked questions page.