According to LinkNKY’s reporting, Democratic state legislators in Kentucky want to use a three-pronged strategy to legalize cannabis during the 2023 legislative session: legislation, executive action, and a proposed constitutional amendment. The push is in response to Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order from the previous year, which went into force on the first of the year.
On the first day of the new legislative session, Democratic state representative Rachel Roberts introduced nearly the same cannabis-legalization bill she introduced last year. Grow Cannabis from L.E.T.T. would make sales legal, let medical cannabis be sold and used, wipe out minor possession charges, and tax sales.
A constitutional amendment proposed by Democrat Representative Nima Kulkarni would make possession for personal use legal beginning in 2024. The ballot language for the proposed change is as follows: “Do you want to decriminalize possession of cannabis up to an ounce and cultivation of five plants for adults 21 and over in the Commonwealth?”
“I do not want to have the legalization conversation without full decriminalization measures,” Kulkarni mentioned in a report.
Even though Democrats have tried to legalize cannabis in Kentucky, Republicans in the legislature, and especially the Senate majority leadership, haven’t shown much interest in it.
The House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville) to legalize medical cannabis. However, the Senate did not take up the bill.
Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) questioned whether the governor could use an executive order to deal with cannabis in the summer.
“The public should be concerned with a governor who thinks he can change statute by executive order,” Stivers stated. “He simply can’t legalize medical marijuana by executive order; you can’t supersede a statute by executive order because it’s a constitutional separation of powers violation.”