Marijuana is a dangerous drug that, in many cases, leads people to use more lethal drugs later in their life.
Law enforcement officials will tell you that many of the people they arrest on drug-related charges started using drugs by smoking marijuana.
Nothing good comes from this drug.
Marijuana is illegal in Kentucky and it needs to stay that way.
There is a push, though, by state Rep. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, to legalize the drug in this state.
Clark is sponsoring legislation called the Cannabis Freedom Act. The bill proposes legalizing recreational marijuana use for people 21 or older, decriminalizing offenses such as unauthorized growing and distribution and consuming cannabis in public and placing an excise tax on the drug. Clark’s bill is heavily based on Colorado Amendment 64, which legalized cannabis there in 2012. If passed – which is very unlikely, considering Clark’s bill failed to gain any traction in the legislature last year – all funds raised from taxes on cannabis sales would go to a new program called Kentucky Responsible Cannabis Use, which would distribute the funds to the Department of Education, the office of Drug Policy, the Law Enforcement Council and the General Fund.
Couldn’t Clark introduce a less controversial bill that would divert funds to these agencies but doesn’t involve an illegal substance?
We think so.
Clark says his bill is based on a Colorado amendment that legalized cannabis. But Colorado politics and its values don’t even come close to matching up with Kentucky politics and values.
Just because states such as Colorado have made cannabis legal doesn’t mean our state should.
Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving, who opposes Clark’s proposed legislation, is correct when he says that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads users to abuse other drugs. Loving said he has yet to hear about a recovering addict who didn’t start with marijuana.
Loving is dead on. Once you legalize marijuana, you open the floodgate for harder drugs to be sought by marijuana users. Loving is also on target when he says legalizing marijuana sends children a message that nothing is wrong with marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana in our state would send our children the wrong message. For that and the other reasons mentioned, we hope Clark’s bill gains no traction in the upcoming General Assembly.