Kentucky advocates motivated by election results legalizing marijuana

This Nov. 25, 2019, photo shows marijuana on display at Arbors Wellness in the medical...
This Nov. 25, 2019, photo shows marijuana on display at Arbors Wellness in the medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor, Mich.(Source: AP Photo/David Eggert)
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 3:23 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On Election Day, neither a red or blue wave was evident across America, but a green one was something many in Kentucky had their eye on.

Voters in a number of states decided Tuesday whether to legalize marijuana for various uses.

“I thought we’d long be before Mississippi,” Brent Goss, Kentucky Veterans for Medical Cannabis Director said.

Medical marijuana will now be legal in Mississippi after voters approved it with around 70% support.

“When you see states that are going full-blown legal all around you, Illinois, I mean I can drive across the river,” Goss said. “I can drive across the river into Ohio and get it. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to acquire this plant on my corner just like I can go buy a pack of cigarettes?”

Recreational use was approved in Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana on election night. Those states join 11 others and Washington D.C.

Goss said medicinal use cleared the Kentucky House of Representatives this year and he believes if it weren’t for COVID-19 impacting the session, it would be legalized by the Senate.

“Now, my wife has almost died from seizures,” Goss said. “My wife needs safe access to the whole plant. Just not smoking it. She needs to be able to take the tinctures. The kids need the tinctures. I need the tinctures. There’s more values in the marijuana plant than just sitting around getting high.”

Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition Director Patrick Dunegan is working with lawmakers to draft what he calls a ‘Kentucky Responsible Use Cannabis Bill’ which would legalize and decriminalize various uses of marijuana and hemp beyond medical use.

“It should not be called recreational,” Dunegan said. “From this point forward, it should be called responsible cannabis use. We are responsible adults. Because of the COVID virus, Kentucky needs this a resource for their budget more than ever.”

Dunegan said he believed the legislation had a chance of passing. The unicameral House passage of a medical marijuana bill earlier this year was the farthest any marijuana legalization effort has made it in the General Assembly thus far.

“Chances are I’m going to say pretty good,” Dunegan said. “I feel pretty good about it because of the COVID virus. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.”

Both asked people to call their legislators to bring legalization to the state.

“I hope that our Kentucky legislators are listening to them,” Dunegan said, regarding recent election results legalizing cannabis use. “That they’re seeing this is coming to Kentucky one way or the other. It might not be next year. It might not be this year, but it’s going to be here one way or the other. If you vote against it, you’re voting against history.”

Goss said he won’t just leave to go somewhere where cannabis is legal because Kentucky is his home.

“Now, I have great-grandchildren, not just grandchildren,” he said. “I got people that I love and I care about that I can’t leave. I won’t leave. I’ll sit here and be an outlaw. I’ll be somebody that breaks the law.”

The Kentucky General Assembly will meet beginning in January.

Oregon also legalized psychedelic mushrooms and decriminalized small amounts of street drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines on Election night.

Washington D.C. decriminalized entheogenic plants and fungi.

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