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KY state lawmakers re-spark marijuana legalization legislation

Senators Morgan McGarvey and David Yates filed the legislation Thursday, which would legalize both medical and recreational marijuana use.
Published: Feb. 20, 2022 at 11:43 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two Kentucky state lawmakers are re-lighting the push to legalize marijuana across the state.

Democratic Senators David Yates and Morgan McGarvey filed Senate Bill 186 last week.

Also known as the “LETT’s Grow” bill, which stands for Legalize, Expunge, Treat and Tax, the legislation would legalize sales of marijuana, expunge past crimes, allow medicinal use and tax sales of cannabis for adults who use it recreationally.

“I think this bill stands to benefit everyone in Kentucky. We’re going to create a new industry,” McGarvey said. “We’re going to get the tax revenue from it. We’re going to catch up to the states that are already doing this and I think it’s a good thing.”

McGarvey told WAVE News the state could pull in close to $100 million in tax revenue per year if the bill passes, which he believes would help improve roads and schools statewide.

The economic impact could expand to businesses statewide that would undoubtedly begin to grow or dispense their own products.

Josh Henderson, who owns Total CBD, said the revenue created by marijuana’s legalization would far outweigh the potential negatives associated with the drug.

“Well, it’s kind of a rollercoaster,” Henderson said. “You know, sometimes you think we can get it over the finish line and sometimes we can’t. And everything that Kentucky needs from a huge financial economic impact, it’s all right there with medical and recreational.”

Some believe the benefits of the bill beyond the cash.

Jeremy Harrell, founder and CEO of Veterans Club, Inc., believes medical marijuana legalization would help thousands of veterans who suffer from both the physical and emotional trauma of their service.

“Veterans are going to do what they have to do to feel better, whether it’s legal or illegal unfortunately,” Harrell said. “And I know that if medical marijuana was prescribed, there would be less substance abuse, in my opinion, among the veteran population.”

Ultimately, it will be up to Frankfort to pass this latest leaf of legislation.

Currently, the bill sits in a Senate committee, and will have to be voted out before it can be deliberated by the entire Senate.

Close to Kentucky, Virginia, Illinois and Michigan have all legalized adult recreational use of marijuana.

According to a report from the Marijuana Policy Project, Michigan has collected 270 million dollars in tax revenue for adult use since 2019.

To see the full bill, click here.

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