Pre-filed bill seeks to legalize marijuana in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - State Representative Nima Kulkarni is working to add Kentucky to the growing list of states that have authorized adult use of cannabis.
The Kentucky Rep. pre-filed legislation on Monday that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, said in a press release. If approved, the legislation would allow Kentucky residents that are 21 years and older to possess, use, buy or sell up to one ounce of marijuana without criminal penalty. The proposed bill would permit ownership of no more than five plants for personal use and give voters constitutional rights to protect these provisions.
The regulation of how cannabis is grown, taxed and sold would be controlled by the General Assembly, according to the press release.
Kulkarni explained that in her second bill while criminal penalties for possessing, cultivating and/or selling small amounts of cannabis would be removed, penalties for possession of larger amounts would remain. Cannabis accessories would also be removed from Kentucky’s drug-paraphernalia statutes according to the bill.
“I am sponsoring these bills for several reasons, any one of which should be enough for them to become law,” Rep. Kulkarni of Louisville said. “First, current cannabis statutes have needlessly and tragically ruined many lives, especially people of color who have suffered because of unequal enforcement. Second, thousands of citizens, from cancer patients to veterans suffering from PTSD, should have the right to use something that gives them the mental and physical relief they deserve without relying on stronger, potentially addictive medicine. Third, cannabis de-criminalization would give the state a much-needed source of reliable revenue without raising current taxes a single cent. And, finally, polls have repeatedly shown a majority of Kentuckians backs de-criminalization and allowing cannabis to be used responsibly by adults. Other states taking this step are reaping considerable benefits, and it’s time for Kentucky to join them.”
If approved by three-fifths of the House and Senate during the upcoming 2022 legislative session, Kulkarni’s constitutional amendment would go before voters next November.
Numerous organizations including ACLU of Kentucky, Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and others have voiced their full support for the proposed bills.
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