Lawmakers and activists gathered in Kentucky this week to discuss a pair of proposals that would dramatically change how cannabis is handled in the state, but there is still division over how far reform efforts should go.
The biggest question for now remains: Will they legalize recreational cannabis, or just a drug?
Local TV station WDRB . reported “State representatives and members of the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Alliance, the ACLU, and the NAACP met Tuesday to support legalization” in the capital, Frankfurt, focusing mainly on two bills introduced by State Assembly Democrat Nima Kulkarni.
In November, Kulkarni introduced two parts of the legislation beforehand. One was a proposed constitutional amendment to allow adults age 21 or older to possess, use and sell up to an ounce of cannabis (or up to five personal plants) without legal repercussions. If the amendment passes, “the question will be added to the November ballot,” according to local TV station WLKY.
Another Kulkarni bill would decriminalize cannabis in the state while also deleting the records of those previously convicted of pot-related charges.
“I sponsor these bills for a number of reasons, any one of which should be enough to become law,” Kulkarni said in a statement After introducing the bills late last year. “First, current cannabis laws have unnecessarily and tragically destroyed many lives, especially people of color who have suffered because of unequal application. Second, thousands of citizens, from cancer patients to veterans with PTSD, should enjoy, The right to use something that gives them the mental and physical relief they deserve without relying on a stronger, potentially addictive drug.
Third, decriminalizing cannabis would give the state a much-needed source of reliable revenue without raising existing taxes by a single cent. Finally, polls have shown time and time again that the majority of Kentuckians support decriminalizing and allowing adults to use cannabis responsibly.”
House Democrat Attica Scott, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said: WLY That Bluegrass legislators “have the opportunity to put the question to Kentucky voters and ask them questions, not the politicians who want to be raced, but the people who could benefit most from legalization and decriminalization.”
For her, Scott said, the two bills are a package deal.
Scott said, as quoted by WLY.
But other Kentucky lawmakers advocate a different approach to cannabis reform, one that begins with a focus on medical cannabis.
WDRB He said lawmakers there expect this year’s legislative session to “revolve around medical marijuana, and some hope with the changes they’ve made to the bill, it will pass through the Senate.”
It’s an area with clear support from both voters and lawmakers, said State Assembly Republican Jason Nimes, who previously pushed for medical marijuana in Kentucky.
“This is where we have the votes, and we adjust a few things to try to make sure we get a vote in the Senate,” Nims told WDRB.
“36 countries already have it,” he added. “There are a lot of people that are going to help, so I think medical marijuana is the step that Kentucky needs to take.”
Poll in 2020 fAbout 60 percent of Kentuckians support legalizing pot for any use, while 90 percent said they support medical cannabis.
In 2012, the same survey found that less than 40 percent would prefer cannabis for any use.
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