FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear expressed confidence Thursday that he’s on solid legal ground in allowing Kentuckians with debilitating conditions to legally possess medical marijuana, calling it a viable alternative to addictive medications in a state ravaged by the opioid crisis.

The Democratic governor’s comments followed a backlash from prominent Republicans criticizing the executive order he signed Tuesday. Beshear’s action will enable Kentuckians to possess up to 8 ounces of medical marijuana at any one time for use for specified medical conditions, provided the cannabis is purchased legally in other states. They’ll need to keep their receipt for proof.