Kentucky State Senator Robert Stivers, when questioned about the legalization of cannabis in Kentucky stated emphatically that he would not support legalization because cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug. That is a widely debunked theory that once one does a certain drug they inevitably progress to harder drugs.
Mr. Stivers’ position is hard to reconcile with what we now know about the effects of cannabis legalization. Ending cannabis prohibition engenders a significant drop in opioid overdose deaths, as much as 25% after the first year of legalization that grows to 33% by year 6. Cannabis legalization also results in significant revenue and job creation. With the opioid overdose epidemic raging in Kentucky the Senator’s excuse for opposing legalization is certainly questionable.
The Senator along with Kentucky’s other prohibitionists now have to look for a new excuse for opposing legalization. Last April, as reported in ‘The Hill’ the Federal Government no longer claims that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug and no longer claims that cannabis causes brain damage or psychosis.
Recently, in a Louisville courtroom the judge ruled that prohibiting cannabis was in the States interest as it was a hallucinogen and narcotic. Cannabis is neither and as far back as 1988 was ruled by the Administrative Law Judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Honorable Francis Young as, “the safest therapeutic substance known to man.”
Currently polling in Kentucky mirrors the national polls with favorability for medical above 80% and for full legalization around 60%. Kentucky’s Legislators need to explain exactly what science supports continuing the failed policy of cannabis prohibition in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary. One wonders exactly what excuse Senator Stivers and the prohibitionists in the Assembly will come up with next to keep prohibition going?