The legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes is spreading across the country. There are now a number of states that allow the drug for recreational purposes and many more that have legalized medical marijuana. At the federal level, the drug remains illegal for all purposes.
As more states move towards legalization, residents may wonder if Kentucky may be one of the next states to partially or completely legalize the drug. Being in the south, where drug laws are usually the strictest in the country, it may seem like a far-fetched idea that Kentucky could legalize marijuana. However, supporters have hope, especially since the state is close to the Midwest, which seems to be the new hot spot for legalization.
The possibility of legalization
The Courier Journal explains that the focus, for now, is on legalizing medical marijuana. There is plenty of support for adding a law that legalizes the drug for recreational use as well, but current bills concern medical use.
The question of safety
The main issue holding up lawmakers is a concern over the safety of the drug. Many feel there is not enough research to indicate marijuana has no harmful effects. They want to be sure that should the legalize it, it will not introduce a health issue. There are concerns about dependency and users possibly moving to harder drugs.
Despite 33 other states having legal medical marijuana laws, Kentucky lawmakers are still dragging their feet. Those pushing to pass the new law point to the possible effectiveness of the drug to treat pain. It may be a way to help move people away from opioids, the abuse of which is a major issue in Kentucky.
There is still a lot of work to do in the legislature to move the bill along to finally permit marijuana for medical use in the state. While any use of marijuana currently remains illegal in Kentucky, there is hope legalization will happen in 2020 because of the strong support from voters.