August is ending and people are heading back to work and school after their summer vacations. Our legislators, after the November elections, will be heading back to Frankfort in January.
While Kentucky’s citizens will have to wait till January for our legislators to get back to work, the citizens of Ohio do not. When faced, as they are now, with the possibility of a voter initiative to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses that the Legislature does not like, they have, instead of crafting their own bill, have passed a bill only to stop legalization thereby guaranteeing the voter initiative will be passed without any legislative input or control. When that happens this November Kentucky will have a full legalization state on its border.
What will be the response then of Kentucky’s legislators? Will they double down on prohibition and spend tax dollars having police follow Kentucky citizens home form the pharmacies? Will they put border guards and checkpoints on the bridges? Should the legislature decide to put their heads in the sand and continue the policy of prohibition they must honestly explain the following reality.
Prohibitionists have claimed since California passed its medical cannabis laws 1996 that it being a medical law doesn’t matter and the citizens will be able to access marijuana any time they want. Ok, let’s give them that. That means Californians have had access to marijuana for 19 years. Almost 20 years of Californians using marijuana freely!
Exactly when will the predicted harms from the people using marijuana show up? When will teen use increase? When will the number of schizophrenics go up? Why are traffic accidents, especially fatal accidents down? Why is there a 25% reduction in opioid drug use in states like California? None of the predicted harms of legalization have happened in California and none of them will.
Hopefully when Kentucky’s legislators meet in January they will respond to Ohio’s restrictive legalization with a Colorado style legalization bill allowing our citizens to capture as much of this emerging market as we can.
The job creation numbers show Colorado has created 21,000 jobs so far in the marijuana industry and as Governor Hickenlooper who originally opposed legalization said in a recent interview about implementing legalization. “It was not as vexing as we thought it would be.”