With California, Massachusetts and Maine debuting recreational marijuana markets next year, it may seem like legal weed is everywhere. But beyond the country’s progressive coastal hubs, huge swaths of America are still being thrown in jail for cannabis crimes, with politicians who are supposed to be protecting their constituents pushing blatant lies about weed in an effort to protect prohibition’s status quo.
In Kentucky, Republican state Senator Dan Seum is ready to change those tired traditions, and has already voiced plans to introduce legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, with an eye towards funding the state’s floundering pension program through cannabis tax revenue.
However, rationally or not, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is firmly cemented in the past and will do everything in his power to block Seum’s legalization effort, effectively signaling a death sentence for Kentucky cannabis reform until at least 2020.
According to local CBS affiliate WKYT, Gov. Bevin appeared on local radio host Terry Miniers’ show Tuesday night and put the kibosh on all things legalization, telling the radio host that “as long as I’m Governor, I will not allow recreational marijuana to be legalized.”
To defend his outdated position, Gov. Bevin pointed to Colorado, where he, falsely, claimed that people are overdosing on pot.
Even with a set of flat out false ideas about the plant influencing his decision, Bevin is still Kentucky’s head of state and is well within his voter-awarded right to shoot down any effort to legalize, even if it’s not in the best interest of his constituents.
Bevin took office in 2015, and will serve as head of state until the end of 2019, when he will be up for re-election, and could delay comprehensive cannabis reform until at least 2024 if he is reelected.
If Kentucky voters want to take concrete steps towards ending marijuana prohibition, their fight will need to start at the ballot boxes in 2019.