Updated: Jan 26
As we enter 2023 many Kentuckians are focused on the new year, new me attitude and their resolutions to better themselves. For some it might be eating healthier or maybe committing to the gym. For others it could be setting and accomplishing career goals. For organizations like Kentucky Mom's for Medical Cannabis and Kentucky NORML, that resolution is the same as previous years, Equitable Legalization of Cannabis in Kentucky.
These organizations were recently joined by Gov. Andy Beshear and other state representatives to set up a display at the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort. This support from Beshear is not a surprise following his actions taken in 2022 supporting Legalization.
April 2022: Beshear announces four steps to exploring legal cannabis which includes a public poll. Also, Beshear announced his intention of establishing a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
June 2022: Beshear announces results of the poll at an overwhelming 90% in favor and names the members of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
Gov. Beshear has continuously applied pressure to the General Assembly, stating that he will not resend the executive orders until they can find a way to Legalize cannabis for Kentuckians.
Despite the fact that the agricultural conditions in Kentucky are considered to be ideal for hemp and cannabis and they have historically been cash crops for the state, albeit sometimes through nefarious means, public support of legalization has been lacking up until recent years. The House would propose a bill that would die in the Senate. The Senate would propose a bill that dies in the House. A performative back and forth for many legislative sessions.
The most recent attempt is by Representative Nima Kulkarni who has been eyeing legalization for some time. The two proposed bills would amend the Kentucky Constitution legalizing cannabis and expunging records for minor offenses.
The first would change the state constitution to allow people over 21 to possess and sell up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use and possess up to five marijuana plants.
The second would expunge records of anyone charged with possession of an ounce or less.
If passed, this would be the most direct opportunity for Kentuckians to vote on the the subject of Cannabis Legalization. Aside from this this proposed amendment it is also expected that both the Kentucky House and Senate will likely have their own bills this session in favor of some form of Legalization.
With the executive orders in place as of January 1st, the proposed constitutional amendment, and the potential of two bills; it appears as though it may be a good year for Kentucky Legalization.
UPDATE: LMPD has released a memorandum instructing officers not to cite for the possession of cannabis.
“An officer will not routinely write a citation for possession of marijuana involving one ounce or less if it the only charge or the most serious charge against a defendant,” Humphreys instructed.
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