Posted by Julia Dake | Jan 28, 2016
No pun intended, but I think it’s high time weed became legalized in Kentucky.
Marijuana legalization has made some significant headway over the past few years, now legal for recreational use in four states and medicinal use in 25. Pretty soon another state, namely Kentucky, could be added to the list, either for medicinal and recreational use.
The Cannabis Freedom Act, a bill filed by state Senator Perry B. Clark of Louisville, would repeal Kentucky’s current ban on marijuana and legalize sales to people 21 and over, while those under age 21 could use it with a doctor’s prescription.
Taxes generated from the sale of marijuana would go toward a variety of government programs, including need-based scholarships to Kentucky students pursuing a college degrees. These taxes would also generate revenue for Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK), which provides money for Kentucky’s school districts and grants to police departments to purchase gear.
In addition to the fact that we live in the 21st century, the tax revenue would greatly benefit Kentucky students seeking a college education. Tuition costs rise every year, putting college out of reach for some, and further stressing those already enrolled. So given the chance to alleviate some of the financial burden on students, why are some legislators so hesitant?
Legalizing weed would also promote tourism in Kentucky, seeing that we would be the first state on the Eastern seaboard where recreational marijuana would be legal. This would become an added incentive for people visiting our state, and would help the hospitality and tourism industries flourish. Not to mention, the state is ideally suited to grow marijuana. We used to be one of the top hemp producing states, which suggests that we just might be a pretty good at growing its more heady cousin.
Critics of marijuana legalization argue that not enough research has been done and that legalization could lead to the potential for marijuana monopolies, making it difficult to regulate. While these are valid concerns, proponents of the Cannabis Freedom Act have added clauses that would create a three-tier system, preventing any one entity from monopolizing all the facets of marijuana cultivation and sales. Senator Clark insists that marijuana would be regulated exactly like alcohol is, requiring an ID to purchase through licensed dealers.
The bottom line is Kentuckians are using marijuana every day and a lot of money is changing hands. So why not set it up so a portion of that money goes to help the state?