A Kentucky Senator just introduced a new bill to legalize weed in the state. The move has sparked an active conversation among Kentucky lawmakers and could open the way for the state to adopt new cannabis laws. But what are the specifics of Senate Bill 80? And what are the chances that the bill will be signed into law?
Kentucky’s New Weed Bill
Republican Senator Dan Seum filed Senate Bill 80 on Wednesday. The bill would establish a number of new weed-related rules, regulations, and legal frameworks.
In particular, SB 80 would:
- Define legal limits for possessing, growing, processing, purchasing and consuming cannabis.
- Establish laws for driving under the influence.
- Set penalties for underage use and possession.
- Create a legal system for cannabis businesses and dispensaries.
- Establish a system for taxing legal weed.
At this point, the bill does not state exact limits on how much weed Kentuckians would be allowed to purchase or possess. But it does stipulate that only adults 21 and over would be allowed to access legal weed.
Senator Seum’s new bill comes on the heels of House Bill 166, which was introduced by Kentucky lawmakers earlier this month. That bill would give medical patients the ability to use cannabis to treat a number of health conditions.
Senator Seum’s new bill has sparked debate among Kentucky lawmakers.
Seum said there are several key benefits to legalizing weed. For starters, he said the legal industry could generate between $100 million and $200 million in taxes every year.
Similarly, Seum said the new bill would create a significant number of new jobs. There would be opportunities for people to work in the production, processing, and sale of legal weed.
He also said that legalizing weed would free up law enforcement to focus on violent offenders. Additionally, Seum has stressed that legalization gives Kentuckians more freedom to choose how to live their lives.
“It gives people the right to conduct their lives as they so choose, to partake in a product they’re already partaking in, and we tax it and we generate revenue,” Seum told the Associated Press.
He added: “It’s already out there, it’s always very available to anybody who wants it. So you legalize it, you tax it and the state gets the new revenue.”
But not everyone agrees with Senator Seum. Several leading politicians have already come out in opposition to Seum’s new bill.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Whitney Westerfield, a Republican, said he is worried about impaired drivers. But the new legalization bill already takes that into consideration. SB 80 calls for the creation of new laws to govern driving under the influence of cannabis.
Several other lawmakers have raised concerns with the bill. For example, Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said he disagrees with the idea of legalization. He also suggested that there may be a number of other politicians who are not excited about the idea of legalizing weed.
Final Hit: Kentucky Senator Introduces Bill To Legalize Weed
It is unclear at this point whether or not Senator Seum’s bill will actually become law. And although Seum seems committed to the idea, SB 80 may not find enough support from other politicians in the state.
Senate President Robert Stivers said he doesn’t think there will be enough support for the bill. Kentucky’s Senate is dominated by Republican lawmakers, many of whom have not been supportive of moving toward legalization.
If the bill does somehow pass, Kentucky would become the ninth state—along with Washington, D.C.—to legalize cannabis.