Marijuana investors can get their checkbooks ready because Kentucky has planned meetings with the intentions of legalizing marijuana.
While the rumor that Kentucky will be legalizing marijuana has been circulating for a while, the bill is being considered again, and an attempt to get a hearings scheduled appears to be serious.
In early 2016, Kentuckians were excited that Senator Perry Clark was filing a bill for medical marijuana to be legalized called the Cannabis Freedom Act, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Despite the efforts, the bill had no hearing and did not get passed or denied.
Around December 2015, Perry Clark was quoted by the Courier-Journal stating the following analysis on why Kentucky needs to be ready to legalize marijuana.
“The time of laughing and snickering about marijuana and marijuana cigarettes is over. We’ve got serious businessmen who have approached me on this now and say they are taking it to the governor.”
Those organizations that helped get medical marijuana proposed to be legalized in Kentucky in 2014 and 2015 are now getting up their strength to have the bill revisited in 2017.
On July 5, WFPL reported that meetings were being held behind closed doors about passing a marijuana bill in Kentucky, and Senator John Schickel said the reason for the meeting is that they felt a need to “vet” the issue.
Although many Kentuckians approve of medical marijuana, Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, said lawmakers “don’t want to openly champion the cause” and stated the following.
“They do not want to be the one that pushes for it. They don’t want to support it publicly, they would rather it pass without them having to do anything about it.”
WKMS reported on July 11 that Kentucky will get a chance to start passing a medical marijuana bill again after the first of the year. It was also reported that Kentucky marijuana legalization is making some progress because the Kentucky Nurses Association endorsed the medical marijuana bill.
Other grassroots meetings are also being planned in the later half of 2016 to help Kentucky get medical marijuana legalized. For example, on July 28, Maysville Online announced a meeting planned for the community on July 30 to learn more about medical cannabis from patients that need the medication.
Besides medical marijuana to treat patients for end-of-life ailments such as cancer, another reason Kentuckians want medical marijuana legalized relates to the prevalent narcotics epidemic in the state. For example, a quote that was added to the report from Maysville Online is from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
An October 2014 study found states that allowed medical marijuana also had fewer deaths due to narcotic overdoses by almost 24 percent when compared to other states.
This study counters a statement quoted by WLKY on July 8 by Mickey Hatmaker of the Kentucky Narcotics Officer Association. In a meeting about legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, Hatmaker said that cannabis is a gateway drug, and he also said “marijuana use by 12- to 17-year-olds is the highest” in states with legal medical marijuana.
The big question that remains concerns whether Kentucky will actually choose to pass the bill in 2017 when it is presented, or if they will have the chance to do so in the first place. For example, Lexington Herald-Leader recently reported that the federal government might legalize marijuana nationwide in the near future.
They also pointed out that, despite the fact that the federal government “missed their own deadline” of June 30 to make a decision about rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, making this change is still on President Obama’s plate.
While the federal government might take care of the problem of legalizing marijuana for Kentucky, the state has other specific needs that might push the bill forward without approval from the feds.
For example, Kentucky’s governor, Matt Bevin, has serious concerns about the state’s budget, and Colorado has proven that marijuana legalization can have extreme success. In 2015, Colorado reported a whopping $1 billion in sales and the state collected $135 million in taxes, according to Cannabist.
Kentucky could potentially expect similar revenue results if they fully legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use because the population of the Bluegrass State is 4.4 million and Colorado’s is 5.3 million.
[Photo by Seth Perlman/AP Images]