In Good Conscience

thomas vance Published:

The Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act has been designated as Senate Bill 11 for the 2013 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Bills are usually numbered in order of importance so this designation we hope, bodes well for the fate of the bill. The opening day of the 2013 session found the Legislative Message Center jammed with calls from supporters all over the State asking for it’s passage. Calling has remained heavy and supporters are expected to be calling through out the session. Many groups supporting bill and marijuana law reform in general, think the Assembly should go all the way and pass legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use as well as for medical and industrial uses.

What would the full legalization of marijuana look like in Kentucky. That’s not hard to decipher. It would look like the regulation of any other commodity. There will be regulations about who can use it, how they can use it and how to keep it away from minors. There will be rules governing the cultivation for farmers, and about sales for wholesalers and retailers. Most of all there will be a huge amount of economic activity. There will be licensing fees for wholesalers and retailers, possibly for cultivation. Industrial and recreational marijuana will be taxed, probably at each point of sale plus the existing sales tax. Medical marijuana will most certainly require oversight in cultivation and handling to ensure it meets whatever standards the State should decide. There is no doubt that as the industry expands, large corporate and business interests will begin to appear. Also it will be our research facilities and colleges who will be studying and expanding the uses for this plant instead of those of another state.

All of this activity will both cost money and make money and that economic activity will eventually be in the tens of millions of dollars. It is hard to estimate the number of jobs that will be created by all this but if a simple store or pharmacy employs 20 people, and for example there are more than 20 pharmacies in Campbell County alone, that’s 400 people employed!

Our legislators cannot in good conscience look at the facts and science of marijuana in all it’s uses and benefits and allow themselves to believe any longer the pronouncements of the Federal Government and the Drug Czar regarding anything they say about marijuana.

The end of marijuana prohibition means the unleashing of an industry estimated to be in the billions of dollars across the country. It is the responsibility and duty of our legislators to see that Kentucky captures as large a portion of that market as we can. For our legislators to do any less is, in military terms, dereliction of duty.

If you support legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, call the legislative hot line at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for all senators and legislators to support and pass Senate Bill 11, the Gatewood Galbraith medical marijuana Act this session. The people there are very nice and will help you with your call.

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