The debate on whether marijuana should be legalized or not has been experienced in Kentucky for quite a number of years. It got to a point where this debate spilled into legal platform especially early in this century. The debate in Kentucky was spearheaded by Gatewood Galbraith who was advocating for the legalization of the plant. To date both the republicans and the democrats have still not agreed on whether marijuana should be legalized in the region and taxed as other cash crops or be treated like alcohol and other drugs which are legal.
The debate is further compounded by the fact that the drug is used by different individuals or groups for different purposes. All the uses however culminate to either recreational or medical reasons. In Kentucky as per this moment there are two bills which if passed will see to it that marijuana is legalized for medical and recreational purposes. The law makers in Kentucky claim that making a move and a decision to legalize it, is very simple. For instance one former congressman, Mike Ward stated that making the decision is straight forward. He was however pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana.
Despite the fact that making the decision is cited as simple bases on those who view it in terms of medical applications, the opponents of the legalization on the other hand are seen to be concerned with the recreational aspect of it. They specifically state that making the decision to legalize the herb will end up becoming a corrupt process. They state once the process has kicked off the corrupt practices will open doors for big problems. The opponents also cite the fact that there hasnt been enough research on the plant which is consistent therefore its effects might by lethal since the current application is based on the beliefs and effects different people experience ("Incorrect Frequency Of Marijuana Use Reported In: Teen Marijuana Use On The Rise" 162).
Despite the there being no evidence on whether marijuana is beneficial or not depending on the use by the different groups, one aspect of the plant has been proven and appears to be consistent. It has been proven in several countries where the country has been legalized for instance Colorado, the revenue tax being generated from pot sales alone generates between 8 and11 million U.S dollars. This figure varies depending on the seasons and the locality of the consumption. The figure is reliable because the source of the figure is the Colorado department of revenue. One thing which stands out in the statement is that the revenue is generated mainly from the pots sales, it therefore means that the revenue mainly results from the recreational use of marijuana (Anderson, Hansen and Rees).
Why legalize Marijuana in Kentucky?
By legalizing recreational marijuana then Kentucky will not be the pioneer state to implement such a legislation. Several states have been able to implement the use of marijuana, for instance Colorado and Oregon. They legalized the use of the plant by passing the famous Cannabis Freedom Act. The most interesting thing about the act is that it was in support of the recreational marijuana. The reason for calling it interesting is because judging from the Kentuckys legislators they seem to ignore the recreational aspect and choose to only consider debating the marijuana on the medical side.
Louisville State senator Perry Clark however took it upon himself to introduce a bill that specifically touches on the recreational use of marijuana. He argued that marijuana should be legalized in the commonwealth, he further stated that it ought to be treated and regulated in a similar way to alcohol. What this bill generally means is that if legalized people would be allowed to plant marijuana in their farms and sell it in the stores especially the retail outlets. He pointed out that in Kentucky its use would be for people aged 21 years and above. The details go on to state that it would therefore mean that every individual would be allowed to possess up to one ounce, or five plants in a cultivated land. He was however categorical that this use was for personal use and the public use was prohibited.
In Colorado marijuana legalization has so far been observed to have generated high returns in terms of revenue. This is because the passage of the legislation ignored to focus on the assumptions made concerning the plant and practically undertake the process. The observers claim that the effects of the legalization is a success, this is because in terms of the economic view it led to the creation and development of a new industry especially due to the fact that the plant I treated as a cash crop by the government. As a matter of fact several formal reports by different groups have born very positive statistical results.
Drug Policy Alliance a state-run institution in Colorado released a report which focused on the marijuana effects that were observed with reference to the effects the plant had on the society. The report was based on observations made within one year since the legalization in January 2014. It was observed that since the legalization the crime rate in Colorado had tremendously gone down compared to previous years. There was also a remarkable decline in the fatalities resulting from traffic. The economic output and jobs had also increased and as expected this translates to an increase in tax revenue the state generated.
These outcomes were in contrast to what majority of the legislators stated as the claims on why the legislation should not be passed in the initial stages. It was expected that the state would be devolved to a drug-fueled anarchy which did not happen. Instead the state experienced development in processing industry as well as tourism. It depicts how failure to undertake risks can cost the state as opposed to trying out. What is being experienced in Kentucky is a result of speculated fears, the state would instead choose to focus on the economic opportunity that the state would benefit from if the bills are passed. This is considering the fact that as per the moment Kentucky is really struggling to identify a bankable industry. Coal industry was the pillar of Kentucky but coal use is outdated in many parts of the country and the prospects are not that impressive.
Revenue tax aspect should however be the motivation for Kentucky legislators to pass the bills that legalize marijuana for recreational use. This is because of the costs incurred by the state in trying to control the use of the herb. According to Al Cross an associate professor and Courier Journal veteran, he states that over the past years there has been really tear jerking stories being told by different people who decide to overlook the state legislations in a bid to obtain the herb.
The people are always at risk of being prosecuted and charged with crime in their course of accessing the herb for the treatment of affliction or diseases .Marijuana has not been scientifically proven to be harmful or as a cause of negative effects in its use compared to alcohol. Therefore rather than Kentucky spending most of its resources in taming the use of marijuana then it should consider legalizing the use of the plant, this way many economic benefits can be reaped as evident in Colorado.
Taxing marijuana legally would mean that the state benefits directly in terms of subjecting those transacting in the herb to revenue. This would then be channeled to the development of the state in terms of investing the revenues to the economy which will automatically lead to creation of jobs from the producers to the end retailers. The practice will also mean that the revenues do not end in cartels who develop privately. Its legalization will mean that firms dealing with the plant will also be established at different levels from processing, packaging to marketing of marijuana ("Marijuana Arrests And Increase In Marijuana Use Disorders" 802)
It would also ensure that corrupt practices have no room in the business. This is because the fact that the drug is illegal and still being produced and sold, within the state then there is room for the corrupt law enforcers to acquire money from the apprehended suspects who would prefer to bribe than serve a jail term. In addition to this the commerce will also mean the number of people in Kentucky jails and prisons facing drug trafficking charges will be reduced. This will mean that the state will not suffer the cost of putting up jails and prisons as well as maintaining the suspects in these housing facilities as they are being subjected to law enforcement procedures. The marijuana related disorder crimes generally occur at individual levels and this is relatively similar to alcohol and tobacco use therefore the state should focus on the benefits that would be reaped from its consumption from a wide spectrum rather than focusing on few cases of disorderliness that would result from its consumption.
Finally the state will benefit from the legislation if it is passed with correct measures put in place, in terms of tourism attraction to the state. This is because most of the countries have not legalized marijuana as a matter of fact it will be the fifth country. Therefore most foreign citizens who enjoy the use of marijuana will choose the state as a destination of choice when they intend to make use of the plant. In return the state will benefit from taxes that accrue the citizens as they come into the state. Together with this people within the state will benefit from job creation in terms of hospitality that comes with hosting the foreigners in social joints and facilities.
In order to reap the benefits of legalizing the recreational marijuana, then the state will also have to come up with specific details and measures concerning how the marijuana should be consumed or used. This is in terms of the quantities of intake, the places where the plant should be used and also the factors to avoid in the line of consumption.
"Marijuana Arrests And Increase In Marijuana Use DisordersReply". JAMA 292.7 (2004): 802. Web.
"Incorrect Frequency Of Marijuana Use Reported In: Teen Marijuana Use On The Rise". JAMA 306.2 (2011): 162. Web.
Anderson, D. Mark, Benjamin Hansen, and Daniel I. Rees. "Medical Marijuana Laws And Teen Marijuana Use". SSRN Electronic Journal n. pag. Web.
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