Democratic Kentucky state Rep. Rachel Roberts has filed a bill to legalize cannabis and expunge low-level cannabis crimes in the state. The measure would allow home cultivation of up to five mature and five immature plants but requires home growers to pay $250 for a permit.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would oversee industry licensing and those possessing one license type could not hold a license from another category. Retail licensees could have, with some restrictions, multiple locations in the state, according to a press release.
Roberts said the approach, which mirrors the state’s alcohol regulations, “keeps any company from monopolizing the market and artificially raising prices.”
“Fifteen states, including neighboring Illinois, have legalized cannabis and are reaping its considerable benefits. Kentucky has been desperate for new revenue for years to deal with rising costs in education, public employee pensions and healthcare. It is time to take advantage of the revenue from this growing market and stop the illegal trafficking of marijuana. By doing this, we could see as much as $100 million annually in new tax revenue, money that could make a real and lasting difference. Many Kentuckians would also be helped by having their criminal record expunged, while farmers would have a new crop rivaling what tobacco was for many decades.” – Roberts in a statement
Under the proposal, 25% of cannabis-derived revenues would be used for addiction treatment and for social equity programs. The remainder would be deposited into the state’s general fund.
The measure was introduced last week and is currently in the House Committee on Committees.
A Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s Health Issues Poll last year found 59% support for allowing adults to buy and use cannabis “under any circumstances” while 49% of respondents supported recreational cannabis legalization.
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