Kentucky senator proposes marijuana legalization to help pensions

LEXINGTON (WKYT/WYMT) - In August, a report from Frankfort said the 2018 budget for Kentucky was in bad shape and could mean problems for the state’s pension system.

Kentucky is facing a $200 million deficit and one senator has a plan.

“There is an estimate now that we have to come up with $1 billion in new money in our budget to cover this problem,” said Senator Dan Seum.

Seum says legalizing marijuana for adults could boost revenue for Kentucky. He estimates $100 million in new money for Kentucky.

“My argument is before any new taxes, let’s explore the potential of new monies,” said Seum.

It’s a move that the owner of Botany Bay in Lexington would love to see.

“It would create jobs, good for farms, processing involved,” said Owner Ginny Saville.

Saville says the new jobs wouldn’t be the only benefit. It would also help with the overcrowding in jails.

“I think we got a lot bigger fish to fry and instead of letting money up and putting people in jail for plants. We could use the money to increase our coffers and solve some real problems,” Saville continued.

Others say the legalization would only add to Kentucky’s drug problem. The issue has been discussed before, but has never had any serious traction in Frankfort.

When it comes to this type of marijuana legislation, states that don’t have any type are actually in the minority. Twenty eight states in the U.S. have some type of medical or recreational marijuana laws.

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