Kentucky state representative, Rep. Nima Kulkarni, a Democrat from Louisville, pre-filed two bills last November 29, 2021. The two bills in question reportedly aim to legalize cannabis use in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, reports LEX 18.
The first bill seeks to allow adults Kentuckians aged 21 and up to buy, use, possess, and even sell up to an ounce of cannabis without being penalized or criminalized. Moreover, the first pre-filed bill also aims to allow citizens of the state to have and cultivate up to five cannabis plants for personal use and consumption.
Meanwhile, the second pre-filed bill by Rep. Kulkarni focuses on decriminalizing and eliminating marijuana-related penalties that come with possessing, cultivating, and selling small amounts of cannabis, notes LEX 18. It also seeks to allow the use of drug paraphernalia and its removal from the statutes of the state.
Under this proposition, however, delta-8 would be classified as marijuana, and therefore, would be subject to regulations, in the same way, reports WHAS 11. Delta-8 is obtained from hemp in the same way CBD is derived from hemp, while marijuana, otherwise called delta-9, is different.
In a statement, Representative Kulkarni said, “[These bills] speak to Kentucky moving forward. It speaks to us not continuing to be behind the curve or within a shrinking minority of states that simply refuse to discuss the issue in any serious manner.”
In attempts to move these bills along, WHAS 11 revealed that part of Rep. Kulkarni’s proposition was to tax the legal marijuana sales in the state in order to generate revenue.
Asked about her statement and her strategic moves about legalizing cannabis in Kentucky, Kulkarni said in a press release that she is “sponsoring these bills for several reasons, any one of which should be enough for them to become law,” shares Marijuana Moment.
“First, current cannabis statutes have needlessly and tragically ruined many lives, especially people of color who have suffered because of unequal enforcement. Second, thousands of citizens, from cancer patients to veterans suffering from PTSD, should have the right to use something that gives them the mental and physical relief they deserve without relying on stronger, potentially addictive medicine. Third, cannabis decriminalization would give the state a much-needed source of reliable revenue without raising current taxes a single cent,” continued Kulkarni.
The initiative of Kulkarni has garnered a mix of responses. On the one hand, WHAS 11 notes that there is a push back from owners who believe that delta-8 should not be lumped with marijuana. In response to this, bill co-author Patrick Dunnegan states that the bill should still be fine-tuned and that he will work towards removing delta-8 from the bill.
On the other hand, there is also overwhelming support for the bill, including from the state director of Americans for Prosperity-Kentucky, notes LEX 18, saying that they “applaud Rep. Kulkarni for introducing bills that would move Kentucky away from the harmful policies that have criminalized the use and possession of marijuana.”
Representative Kulkarni hopes to pass these bills with the support and votes of the citizens in the November 2022 elections. However, Marijuana Moment reveals that it would only be placed on the ballot if this is approved by three-fifths of the House and Senate in the legislative session in 2022.