Kentucky State Senator McGarvey has proposed a medical cannabis bill for the upcoming session of the Kentucky Assembly. It would allow for the use of medical cannabis but only for terminally ill patients. One wonders, setting aside the fact that medical cannabis should be available to all who can benefit from it, does the Senator think cannabis is so dangerous that it should be allowed only for citizens who are going to die anyway? What exactly does the Senator and the Assembly think they are protecting us from?
Currently 29 States have passed medical cannabis legalization and 9 have recreational legalization. California passed a medical bill in 1996 in which it is relatively easy for patients to access medical cannabis through a Doctor and in 2016 passed recreational legalization. Colorado passed a medical bill in 2012 and a recreational bill in 2014. The results in Colorado have been astounding. The cannabis market in Colorado paid 150 million dollars in revenue on 1.3 billion dollars in sales for 2016 alone. A little less than half from medical sales. The market has created 18,000 full time jobs and millions in ancillary economic activity. In addition they have seen a significant drop in opioid overdose deaths, almost half since 2012. The work of changing their policy from prohibition to one of freedom of the market has been, to quote the Republican Governor Hickenlooper,”not as vexing as we thought.” Since Kentucky has 4.5 million people and Colorado has 5.5 we think we would see similar results here.
Despite the outcry of those who would continue cannabis prohibition, none of the harms of legalization predicted for the last eighty years have surfaced in California in the 21 years since California passed legalization in 1996 nor in the 29 States who have passed medical legalization or the 9 States who have passed recreational legalization. Not one! Kentucky State Representative Benvenuti once said he could fill a room with the bodies of those killed by cannabis. We have yet to see any and don’t expect to.
Why then should Kentucky continue the unreasonable and arbitrary policy of prohibition? What exactly are the members of the Assembly protecting us from? Jobs? Revenue? A 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths that grows to 33% by year 6 after legalization? An industry to replace the coal industry?
Please stop! Stop trying to protect us from a nonexistent bogeyman created for both racist and political reasons eighty years ago! Please, enough is enough! Stop trying to protect us by arresting us and jailing us and confiscating our property simply because it is what you have always done and none of you have the courage to stop.
More than half of the states have legalized cannabis for medical reasons. The war on cannabis is over. Science and logic have won over racism and suppression.
Here in Kentucky let us celebrate this victory of truth and freedom. Let us put an end to the war here. Please, let us stop cannabis prohibition now!