Kentucky State Senator Perry Clark (D-Louisville) pre-filed a bill last week that would legalize and regulate cannabis in the Bluegrass State.
“It is abundantly clear to me that cannabis, while being much less harmful, should be treated the same as alcohol,” Clark said. “The Cannabis Freedom Act is an outline on how to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older in Kentucky. It is time for this discussion in our commonwealth.”
The plan includes the legalization of cannabis possession of up to one ounce for those aged 21 years and older, as well as home cultivation of up to five plants.
"Few believe that anyone should be incarcerated where the cannabis plant is involved," Clark wrote recently in an op-ed piece. "Most of my life we have expended tax dollars pursuing a ban on a plant. Wasted dollars they were. We have exponentially increased the power and scope of our criminal justice system by strapping it with issues concerning a plant."
In the interest of full disclosure, I am currently writing this from Kentucky, where I live. A notoriously “red” state for the last four presidential elections, Kentucky has made some frail attempts at medical cannabis legalization over the past several years. Sadly, support hasn’t gone much past Sen. Clark, who was the sponsor of those attempts.
The bill itself doesn’t stand much of a chance unless the people of Kentucky demand it. The Kentucky Legislature (a collection of mostly old white guys) is not known for making sweeping changes. Industrial hemp, however, is being legally harvested in the state and has the support of the state’s two national senators (Paul and McConnell). This might not have much effect on marijuana legalization, but at least the state does have some positive experience with the cannabis plant.