Two Kentucky state lawmakers are renewing their push to legalize marijuana in the Bluegrass State.
Democratic Senators David Yates and Morgan McGarvey, both of Louisville, filed Senate Bill 186 last week, reports WAVE 3.
Also known as the “LETT’s Grow” bill, which stands for Legalize, Expunge, Treat and Tax, the bill would legalize sales of Cannabis and expunge past crimes. The bill would also allow medicinal use and tax adult-use sales.
“We’re Going To Create A New Industry”
“I think this bill stands to benefit everyone in Kentucky,” McGarvey said. ”We’re going to create a new industry. We’re going to get the tax revenue from it.
Kentucky could get close to $100 million in additional tax revenue per year if the bill passes, according to McGarvey. He believes would help improve roads and schools statewide.
McGarvey said the economic impact of Cannabis could expand to businesses that would grow or dispense their own products.
Some believe the benefits of the bill will extend far beyond the cash.
Jeremy Harrell, founder and CEO of Veterans Club, Inc., believes legalization would help thousands of veterans who suffer from both the physical and emotional trauma of their military service.
“Veterans are going to do what they have to do to feel better, whether it’s legal or illegal unfortunately,” Harrell said.
“We Have Put Too Many People Behind Bars For This Offense”
“Our plan is both comprehensive and caring,” said Rep. Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) on Thursday, reports WFPL. “It helps those who are sick. And it would put Kentucky almost overnight at the epicenter of a multi-billion dollar business.”
“By decriminalizing low-level marijuana offenses, it allows police and the courts to re-prioritize their resources toward addressing more serious crimes,” Yates said in a news release.
“We have put too many people behind bars for this offense,” Yates said. ”Our lockups are full of them, and that is both unjust and costly.”
“Kentuckians Are Growing Cannabis, They Are Selling Cannabis, They Are Consuming Cannabis”
The plan would create a regulatory board similar to the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Separate advisory boards focus on medicinal and recreational uses, cultivation, and social/economic equity.
A social impact council would use a portion of state revenue from marijuana sales for scholarships and grants for those historically marginalized or impacted by marijuana prohibition.
The state taxes adult-use sales at the 6% state rate in the bill. Municipalities have the option to add another 5%. Roberts said that’s competitive with neighboring states.
“Make no mistake, Kentuckians are growing cannabis, they are selling cannabis, they are consuming cannabis,” Roberts said. ”We just aren’t regulating it for their safety or benefiting from the tax revenue it should be generating.”
Currently In Senate Committee
Currently, the bill sits in a Kentucky Senate committee. And it requires passage there before deliberation by the entire Senate.
Kentucky’s immediate neighbors, Virginia and Illinois, have already legalized adult use of Cannabis.
To see text of the full bill, click here.