While Bluegrass State hemp has been growing since 2014, Kentucky legalization has yet to take root; however, one state senator is hoping to change that.
On Oct. 4, 2017, Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale, announced that he will propose a Kentucky legalization bill before the start of the 2018 regular session, as reported by Spectrum News.
Kentucky needs to find approximately $5.4 billion in the two-year state budget to sustain its pension systems for state employees and Seum believes his Kentucky legalization bill can come to the rescue.
“Once we get through with the special session and we realize we need $1 billion, desperation might pass that bill,” Seum told WDRB.
Because of the size of Kentucky’s pension problem, Seum is bypassing medical and proposing full recreational legalization.
“I’m looking at adult use, because that’s where the money is at,” Seum said.
While a Kentucky Health Issues Poll found in 2012 that 78% of Kentucky adults supported medical marijuana, only 38% supported recreational marijuana.
Opponents of recreational legalization don’t think Seum can convince the people of Kentucky that recreational marijuana can aid the state’s pension problem.
“Retirees will not be comforted if they know that the money they’re retiring on is money that’s coming from the sale of drugs,” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky.
Seum believes retirees would rather have a pension funded by Kentucky legalization than no pension at all.
“I think most of them, quite frankly, would be happy to fund it any way they want as long as they don’t lose their pensions,” he said.
You can watch Nick Storm with Spectrum News discuss Kentucky legalization with Seum and Jason Warf, political director of Alliance for Innovative Medicine, below.