Kentucky’s medical cannabis business license application round is officially open as of July 1, 2024!  You only have until August 31, 2024 to submit a completed application.

We are poised and ready to assist with your cannabis business application needs in Kentucky as your Kentucky cannabis advisors. Kentucky’s Office of Cannabis Management has provided a lot of helpful resources on their main website. Kentucky’s medical cannabis is poised to be a large, upcoming industry.

Some items that will need to be included in the application will be business filing documentation, a site plan, operational plan, and other features. This application is big and you want to put your best foot forward to be included in the potential lottery. Kentucky does not appear to have a residency requirement as part of their application which is an interesting choice as we move forward. The medical cannabis licensing rounds are always highly competitive and set future adult-use businesses up for success as medical license holders are often allowed to convert first. We are here to be your Kentucky cannabis consultants.

Key Dates for a Kentucky Medical marijuana business license

  • July 1, 2024: Medical licensing application window for all license types opens
  • August 31, 2024: Application window closes
  • September 15, 2024: Applicants receive action/no-action letters from the Office of Medical Cannabis indicating deficiency or approval for the lottery entry
  • October 1, 2024: Lottery for winning applications

Canna Business Services provides an invaluable asset, putting our expertise, resources and extensive background at your disposal. We understand and remain current with the ins and outs of the cannabis industry, application processes, prerequisites and potential stumbling blocks, allowing us to pave the way toward achieving your goals. From preparing a proper licensing application to marketing, branding, investing and every aspect of success in a growing market, reach out to Canna Business Services at (888) 453-0555 today.

everything you need to know about applying for kentucky’s medical cannabis business licenses

Kentucky’s medical cannabis licensing round opened on July 1st at and closes on August 31st, which means you have UNDER 2 MONTHS to get everything done that you need and it’s a pretty big application; so START NOW.

The application is comprehensive, requiring many documents, including your business filing docs, operational plan, site plan, and much more. The state anticipates that by September 15th of this year, applicants will receive either “action” or “no action” letters, which means your application is either complete (“no action”) or deficient (“action”). An action letter allows for a curing period of just 10 DAYS to resolve any application deficiencies, allowing the application to be eligible for approval and/or the lottery.

By October 1st, the state will decide if it will hold its first ever lottery for medical cannabis applicant license winners. Everybody is asking how many dispensary licenses will be approved.

To much surprise, only 48 dispensaries will be permitted across the entire state. The state will be split into 11 regions, each of which will have been predetermined by the State of Kentucky with at least 4 dispensaries. Even more importantly, counties will be limited to one dispensary, each with only a few exceptions. The program will also issue 16 cultivator licenses divided into 3 different tier types, 10 processor licenses, and an unlimited amount of safety compliance facility (testing lab) licenses.

So, what does this mean for you? It means this is going to be a hyper competitive round due to the severe limitations on how many licenses will be awarded. Remember, if you don’t have the application dialed in perfectly, you’re not going to qualify for that lottery round. And the worst thing that you can do, is devote so much time and money to getting into that lottery just to fail. Set yourself on the right path and don’t skimp on the application process. Find yourself the right Kentucky medical cannabis license consultant and advisor for you and make sure you qualify for the lottery round!

No matter what license type you go for, you’ll be required to pay a nonrefundable application fee ranging anywhere from $3,000-$30,000.

In addition to this fee, the Commonwealth has become wise to the fact that people may not be sufficiently capitalized for this endeavor. That is why they are requiring a minimum sufficient capital requirement. This minimum capital requirement ranges anywhere from $50,000-$1,000,000 depending on the license and tier type pursued.

This application round is going to be VERY competitive, and it starts in LEES than two weeks from now!

That means your competition has started months, if not, a year or so ago.

If you are going to be competitive and have a shot in Kentucky’s medical cannabis round, you need to start today.

Selecting the right consultant for this journey is critical to ensure that you make it into the coveted lottery. You only get one shot to get into this lottery, don’t let hiring a poor consultant be the reason you get denied! Take the steps to properly vet the best cannabis consulting company for your cannabis business license in Kentucky. In fact, we’ve drafted some pretty great questions to separate the best cannabis consultants from the fakes.



These are great questions and indicative of someone who wants to ensure they are pursuing the best route possible in the Commonwealth. Let’s talk through the license types available in the Kentucky medical cannabis lottery.

If you’re wondering which license type to pursue, we’ve listed out some questions to consider as you decide between license types. By example, ask yourself these questions, if you’re considering a Medical Cannabis Dispensary license. Ask yourself these questions, if you’re considering a Medical Cannabis Cultivator license.

According to KRS 218B.080​ and Team Kentucky Office of Medical Cannabis, Kentucky offers the following medical cannabis license types: Cultivation, Processors, Safety Compliance Facilities, and Dispensaries.

Read on to learn about each of the 4 different license types available.



Successful cannabis cultivator license applicants will be permitted to plant, raise, harvest, trim, and cure raw plant material. Think of this as the stage where you grow the cannabis plant. A cultivator license authorizes its holder to grow medic​al cannabis (also known as raw plant material) in an enclosed, locked facility and sell medical cannabis to a licensed medical cannabis processor, producer, or dispensary in Kentucky. Cultivators grow, harvest, and trim the cannabis plants used to make safe, accessible medical cannabis products in Kentucky. 

As you further determine if a Kentucky cultivation license is for you, consider the 4 different canopy tier sizes:

  • Tier I: 2,500sqft or less
  • Tier 2: 10,000sqft. or less
  • Tier 3: 25,000sqft. or less
  • Tier 4: 50,000sqft. or less (Tier IV cultivator licenses are not available in this licensing round)

Cannabis cultivators in Kentucky are prohibited from growing outside. Cultivation can only be performed indoors.



Cannabis Producer License holders are permitted to process and package the raw plant materials into usable product formats. In other words, if you have this license, you will be permitted to take the cultivated cannabis in Kentucky and create medical cannabis products for patients in Kentucky. Processors may modify medical cannabis through extraction and other processing methods to develop various products for the medical-use cannabis market (tinctures, oils, etc.).

Processors are permitted to produce the following products in Kentucky:

  1. Edibles
  2. Oils
  3. Topical forms
  4. Vaporization products
  5. Tinctures
  6. Dermal Patches
  7. Raw Plant Material
  8. Nebulization products

Four extraction methods are permitted:

  1. Hydrocarbon solvent-based
  2. Carbon dioxide-based
  3. Ethanol
  4. Non-solvent, mechanical



Safety Compliance license holders are permitted to test for contamination and purity testing of raw plant material and medical cannabis products. These license types are also known as “labs” or “third-party testing labs”. Safety Compliance Facilities are testing to ensure the products are safe for use by patients in Kentucky.

According to the Commonwealth, these facilities may also produce and sell approved educational materials related to the use of medical cannabis, produce, and sell equipment or materials including lab equipment and packaging materials, train cardholders and cannabis business employees on medical cannabis topics, and engage in other non-cannabis related business activities that are not otherwise prohibited or restricted by state law.​

Samples from each harvest and production batch must be tested by safety compliance facilities to ensure the quality of medical cannabis in each stage of the process. Testing is performed to identify the following:

Psychoactive Compounds

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoid concentrations
  • Terpene types and concentrations

Production residuals

  • Residual pesticides
  • Processing chemicals
  • Residual solvents
  • Heavy metals
  • Vitamin E acetate

Impurities and contaminants

  • Microbial impurities
  • Mycotoxins
  • Water activity
  • Yeast
  • Mold



    Winning Kentucky Dispensary License Applicants will be permitted to sell finished medical cannabis products to medical patient cardholders. A dispensary license authorizes its holder to sell medical cannabis products from its licensed premises to registered qualified patients, designated caregivers, and visiting qualified patients. Dispensaries can only sell medical cannabis products acquired from a licensed cannabis business that has passed all tests required by 915 KAR 1:110.

    Dispensaries in Kentucky will be permitted to offer in-store purchases of products at the dispensary, delivery, drive-through windows, and curbside pickup! They will be required to put patient education first, providing dosage amounts, usage directions, and potential impairments caused by product usage.



    There is a fifth license type in Kentucky called the “Producer”. This license type is permitted to essentially cultivate and process cannabis. They plant, raise, harvest, trim, and cure raw plant material (cultivate) and also process and package the raw plant material into usable product formats (process). However, the program will not be accepting license applications for Producers in this round.


    HOW MANY applications can you submit IN KENTUCKY, IN THIS ROUND?

    If you looking to submit a Dispensary license application in Kentucky, you can submit one application across all 11 regions in the state.


    As provided in the above graphic map posted by Team Kentucky, Office of Medical Cannabis, there are 11 Medical Cannabis Dispensary Licensing Regions. These regions are specifically allocated for the purposes of dispensary licensing.

    Region 1: Bluegrass: Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Garrard, Harrison, Jessemine, Madison, Mercer, Scott, and Woodford.

    Region 2: Kentuckiana: Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Trimble

    Region 3: Northeast: Bath, Boyd, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Greenup, Lewis, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Robertson, and Rowan

    Region 4: South Central: Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren

    Region 5: Cumberland: Bell, Casey, Cumberland, Harlan, Knox, Laurel, Lincoln, McCreary, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Wayne, and Whitley

    Region 6: Mountain: Breathitt, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Jackson, johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, and Wolfe

    Region 7: Pennryrile: Caldwell, Christian, Hopkins, Lyon, Muhlenberg, Todd, and Trigg

    Region 8: West Kentucky: Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, McCraken, and Marshall

    Region 9: Lincoln Trail: Adair, Breckinridge, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Larue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Taylor, and Washington

    Region 10: Northern Kentucky: Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen, and Pendleton

    Region 11: Green River: Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union, and Webster

    If you submit for a Cultivation license, you can submit across all of the tiers that are available in this round. This means that you can apply for a Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III cultivation license in Kentucky in this round.  

    If you’re applying for a Safety Compliance Facility license, you can submit across different addresses. It is not subject to this lottery, but it is available in this round.

    You CANNOT submit across license types, so choose wisely!

    Learn more in this 60 second video:


    the program will be issuing the following initial licenses:

    • Cultivation License
      • Tier 1 Cultivator: 10 licenses
      • Tier 2 Cultivator: 4 licenses
      • Tier 3 Cultivator: 2 licenses
      • Tier 4 Cultivator: No licenses in this round
    • Processor: 10 licenses
    • Producer: No licenses in this round
    • Dispensary: 48 licenses
    • Safety Compliance Facility: No initial limit

    The program will utilize a lottery if the amount of applications exceeds the number of licenses available, and we are quite confident that it will far exceed what most are expecting. In our experience, most states receive thousands of applications and we can expect the same here.


    Business licensing application submission and review timeline

    Check out this graphic put together by the Team of Kentucky Office of Medical Cannabis:

    Business Licensing Application Timeline.PNG

    As seen above, the license application submission period opens on July 1st and closes August 31st.  By September 15, 2024, CHFS will have sent all of its action and no action letters to applicants. September 25, 2024 will be the latest possible supplemental information deadline for deficient applications. By October 1, the State will have made a determination of all eligible and non-eligible applicants for the lottery qualification. At a date to be determined in October 2024, a lottery will be heard. 15 days after the lottery is held, the license payment will be due for licenses won.



    When the Kentucky license application round closes on August 31, 2024, the state is permitted to send out letters notifying applicants of deficiencies in their applications. Some states call these “Deficiency Notices” and other states call them “Notice to Cure” or “Cure Letters”.

    An Action Letter means that the State has identified issues in your application that will require your correction or you will not be able to participate in the lottery. You have 10 days to cure, from the date you receive the letter.

    These letters may only have one issue identified, but could have 10+ items that require significant time to correct, making it impossible for some applicants to make the corrections in time. If you do submit in time, the State will review the provided information to determine if it qualifies you for the lottery round.

    As you can see, these Action Letters are make-or-break for Kentucky applicants and could be the difference between you achieving your dream or having your dream wash away.


    Want to learn more?

    This is a robust application and you have to nail it perfectly in order to get into this year‘s lottery. We go into more detail on the application and common mistakes that derail applications on our most recent Kentucky webinar:

    You have only 9 weeks from July 1, 2024 to submit your application, and the clock is ticking!


    Understanding the kentucky lottery process

    If you’re confused about how the lottery system works in Kentucky’s medical cannabis program, you’re not alone. We wanted to share with you verbiage straight from the Kentucky Office of Medical Cannabis website for you here:

    “The Program will issue its initial allocation of medical cannabis business licenses using a lottery. A lottery is the most fair and transparent method for allocating medical cannabis business licenses in the Commonwealth. It is important to remember that the Program will only conduct a lottery when the number of eligible​ applicants exceeds the initial license allocation for the business category. After the Program reviews a business application, and if the application is determined complete by the Program, the business application will be entered into a licensing lottery for the selected cannabis business category if a lottery is necessary. The Program will not be issuing Safety Compliance Facilities licenses by lottery, because there is no initial limitation on the number of Safety Compliance Facility licenses.”
    So what does this mean? It means that the state expects to receive far more applications than licenses available. In those instances, it will review applications to ensure that they meet the application requirements. If they do, they will be entered in a lottery, which is exactly what it sounds like. Imagine a Powerball lottery. This is the same type of thing. However, you cannot just simply go to the gas station and purchase a ticket to enter. You must prepare a substantial and substantive application with many operational procedures and SOPs, site plans, and more. When you do this, and if you respond correctly, only then will you be entered into the state’s lottery.





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